Definition of broke in US English:


  • past (and archaic past participle) of break


  • predicative Having completely run out of money.

    ‘many farmers went broke’
    • ‘Talk of the town is that the way the money is being spent they might be broke by next month.’
    • ‘So for someone who is broke, with low morale, can you see how easy it is to become homeless?’
    • ‘We would hang by the bar, each of us with a drink paid for individually, broke as we were.’
    • ‘It is also true that I have no ideas at all about it and would only have any if I were feeling very broke.’
    • ‘If the State had to pick up the tab for some of the work they do we would all be broke.’
    • ‘If they were broke they would be more concerned with making a living than making history.’
    • ‘They go broke or they flounder in a dribble of chips waiting for the really good cards.’
    • ‘The trouble with this argument is that all the people I know who work overtime are broke!’
    • ‘Trust me, you can not only go broke, but you can actually pay taxes as you do it.’
    • ‘The club is broke and the only way of fixing it is to do a deal with the principal creditor Bill Barr.’
    • ‘Four years ago, my grandmother was on her way to post some money to my sister, a broke single mum.’
    • ‘This month I am completely broke.’
    penniless, moneyless, bankrupt, insolvent, poor, poverty-stricken, impoverished, impecunious, penurious, indigent, in penury, needy, destitute, ruined, down and out, without a penny to one's name, without two pennies to rub together
    View synonyms


  • go for broke

    • informal Risk everything in an all-out effort.

      • ‘Heath then went for broke, attempting a cross court nick off the serve which went down giving Boswell match point.’
      • ‘Stanley went for broke at the break by replacing O'Neill with McEvilly following the striker's three-match ban.’
      • ‘After the success of her first major label album, 1997's Stuff, many other new artists would have gone for broke with a quick second album, but McNarland and her cameraman husband chose to honour nature over her bank account.’
      • ‘Last year in the final, Roddick tried the blunderbuss approach, going for broke on just about every shot, serving like a demon and hitting the lines with his ground-strokes.’
      • ‘As he prepared to go onstage at the famous Newport Folk Festival last weekend, Cleaves recalled going for broke before recording Broke Down.’
      • ‘I am a risk-taker and I would have gone for broke during the dotcom boom.’
      • ‘So to toughen resolve and get US consumption, production and employment back on a more predictable track, they have gone for broke.’
      • ‘Recognising the difficulty of defeating the Allies on land, the German leadership decided to go for broke by launching an all-out submarine offensive, regardless of the risk.’
      • ‘Leung went for broke, recognising that he was in probably the most culturally diverse suburb in Auckland.’
      • ‘Occasions that cried out for a drop-goal attempt, especially with Eric Elwood and McHugh in wait, were passed up, as Connacht went for broke.’
      • ‘I then changed my tactics and decided that I was going to go for broke with a more flamboyant bet.’
      • ‘The visitors went for broke after the interval and pushed forward at every opportunity only to be undone by another Westport Set-piece in the 56th minute.’
      • ‘Shayler characteristically went for broke, for the option promising maximum exposure - and it may guarantee him a life in the public eye when he emerges from Belmarsh.’
      • ‘Graham Branch instantly replaced Alan Moore for his first start in over six weeks, pushing straight into attack as Burnley went for broke.’
      • ‘Villa upped their game and went for broke, throwing everything forward in an effort to get back into the match - and it worked.’
      • ‘Could it be that this enigmatic prince has decided to go for broke and risk avoiding the best bloodline in order to find a new and possibly richer source of equine wealth?’
      • ‘It was in the final ten minutes that the town men went for broke.’
      • ‘Manager Eugene Byrne threw caution to the wind and went for broke with ten minutes to go.’
      • ‘When I first listened to Mass Romantic, I heard a band collectively going for broke, attempting to cram as many aural ideas as possible into the space of a pop song, without ever exhausting their resources.’
      • ‘With a minute left, Pock went for broke when they won a lineout in the bottom corner and tried to throw the ball wide.’
      attempt, endeavour, make an effort, exert oneself, seek, strive, struggle, do one's best, do one's utmost, do all one can
      View synonyms
  • if it ain't broke, don't fix it

    • informal If something is reasonably successful or effective, there is no need to change or replace it.

      ‘Stick with the plan! If it ain't broke don't fix it’
      • ‘Most small businesses, rightly, resist change: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.’
      • ‘Maybe the best advice of all: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.’
      • ‘And absent some kind of explanation, people may remember an old saying: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.’
      • ‘We have all heard the saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."’
      • ‘We have lost sight of the old adage: if it ain't broke, don't fix it.’
      • ‘A lot of the objectors to the bill said: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."’
      • ‘Part of the answer probably lies in the principle " if it ain't broke, don't fix it ".’
      • ‘The government should abide by the principle of " if it ain't broke, don't fix it ".’
      • ‘Some advice for future regulators and governments - if it ain't broke, don't fix it.’
      • ‘I am not a revolutionary, and generally espouse the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" school.’