Definition of fracture in US English:



  • 1The cracking or breaking of a hard object or material.

    ‘bone density testing can predict the risk for fracture’
    • ‘In men the decline is more gradual, but the risk of fracture is serious by age 65.’
    • ‘The treatment did appear to increase the risk of stroke but decrease risk of hip fracture.’
    • ‘The authors conclude from this study that the risk of hip fracture in elderly persons can be greatly reduced by the use of a hip-protector device.’
    • ‘Possible analogy with material fracture and/or invasive percolation can also be suspected.’
    • ‘They are potentially suitable for use by older people at high risk of hip fracture rather than older people generally.’
    • ‘Calcium and vitamin D supplements can be of benefit for older people of both sexes to reduce the risk of hip fracture.’
    • ‘That will produce stress or fatigue with an increased risk of fracture.’
    • ‘There is evidence that drinking a lot of coffee - about four or more cups a day - can increase the risk of fracture.’
    • ‘Nevertheless, the fall in bone density with age makes an important contribution to risk of fracture for at least some fragility fractures.’
    • ‘Vitamin D deficiency boosts risk of jaw fracture and gum disease.’
    • ‘The risk of hip fracture increases with aging but the risk of wrist fracture does not.’
    • ‘Patients without fracture who are at risk for osteoporosis can also benefit from these preventive measures.’
    • ‘Such nanocrystalline ceramics are particularly hard, but they're brittle and fracture easily.’
    • ‘Today there is a wide range of therapeutic options and several safe and effective medical treatments to reduce the risk of fracture by up to 50 per cent.’
    breaking, breakage, cracking, cleavage, rupture, shattering, fragmentation, splintering, splitting, separation, bursting, disintegration
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    1. 1.1 A crack or break in a hard object or material, typically a bone or a body of rock.
      ‘a fracture of the left leg’
      • ‘Quakes radiate along fault lines, which often are existing fractures in the rock but can also be created by a new line of breakage.’
      • ‘He had a skull fracture, was in serious shock and had a compound leg fracture.’
      • ‘Where limestone occurs adjacent to ironstone, it shows various stages of replacement by chert and hematitic material parallel to bedding and along fractures.’
      • ‘Conditions such as an uncorrected fracture of the shin bone, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis or Paget's disease can distort the ends of the bones and cause knock knee in adults.’
      • ‘Many of the most ancient gold mines, and some of the more famous ones from modern times, were simple gold-bearing quartz - pyrite veins in faults and other fractures in rocks.’
      • ‘My back was broken in two places - one break and one compressed fracture.’
      • ‘If a break occurred in the skin overlying the fracture, it must be considered an open fracture, necessitating orthopedic referral.’
      • ‘As the magma in the intruding sill moves updip, the tensile stress on an intersecting fracture above the sill becomes greater, and the tensile strength of the sediments becomes less.’
      • ‘When fractures occur, the bone is not always broken completely.’
      • ‘Severe pain over a bone might indicate a fracture or an injury to a ligament.’
      • ‘Bone scanning is sensitive but not specific for detecting stress fractures, healing fractures, infections and tumors.’
      • ‘For an older person a hip fracture is a devastating injury that greatly increases disability and mortality.’
      • ‘Along with the fractures, bone chips, and muscle strains, I received scars on my back, arms and shoulders, my forehead, and my knees.’
      • ‘This situation raises numerous possibilities for mineral reactions, especially when the fractures transect different rock types.’
      • ‘The latter do not include typical pegmatite minerals and appear mainly along the tectonic fractures present at this locality.’
      • ‘Stress fractures are partial fractures, often hairline cracks in the bone, caused by repeated stress.’
      • ‘All indicate that, even at the greatest depths, the rocks are fractured and the fractures contain aqueous fluids.’
      • ‘Direct injury to the spine may cause a bone fracture anywhere along your vertebral column.’
      • ‘A previous spinal fracture is an important risk factor for subsequent hip fractures in both men and women.’
      break, breakage, crack, split
      crack, split, fissure, crevice, break, rupture, breach, rift, cleft, slit, chink, gap, cranny, interstice, opening, aperture, rent
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    2. 1.2 The physical appearance of a freshly broken rock or mineral, especially as regards the shape of the surface formed.
      • ‘The mineral is brittle with a conchoidal to uneven fracture.’
      • ‘It forms attractive dendrites on fracture surfaces.’
      • ‘It is brittle, breaking with a conchoidal to uneven fracture, and it has a hardness of 2.5 and a measured density of 5.82.’
      • ‘Alteration of this mineral has produced an unusual abundance of vivianite coatings on fracture surfaces in the rock.’
      • ‘Its fracture is conchoidal to uneven, its density is about 3.73, and its hardness varies from 5.5 to 6.5.’
  • 2Phonetics
    The replacement of a simple vowel by a diphthong owing to the influence of a following sound, typically a consonant.

    1. 2.1 A diphthong substituted by fracture.


  • 1Break or cause to break.

    no object ‘the stone has fractured’
    with object ‘ancient magmas fractured by the forces of wind and ice’
    • ‘It shows fractured blocks of ancient sedimentary rock separated by recent sand dunes.’
    • ‘The process enhances flakability by reducing fracture toughness, a measure of a stone's resistance to fracture propagation.’
    • ‘She used locally quarried andesite, a brittle stone that fractures into sharp, angular shapes and has a sparkly surface.’
    • ‘The development of extensional and shear fractures in volcanic areas is usually related to magma emplacement at shallow crustal levels.’
    • ‘This inequality leads to fracturing within the stone and eventual disintegration.’
    • ‘Typically hydraulic fracturing is conducted in vertical boreholes.’
    • ‘Old and isolated ash stood torn and fractured and afflicted with black balls of fungi.’
    • ‘I squeezed the thing in my claw until it fractured and splintered into a spray of shards and powder.’
    • ‘The satellite images used in the study also showed the lower parts of the glaciers fracturing and disintegrating in response to the loss of the ice shelf.’
    • ‘In the past, areas of Swindon had experienced peaks of high pressure that sometimes led to leakage, burst pipes and fractured mains.’
    • ‘Everyone adores this brilliant fractured fairy story and love to sing along and anticipate their favourite lines.’
    • ‘I kicked and the water fractured, shattered into hundreds of ripples that milled out and scattered over the lake's surface.’
    • ‘His characters are fractured, broken people, who find happiness too late and too unsatisfactorily, if at all.’
    • ‘As the characters descend into madness, the camera work also begins to fracture and break down.’
    • ‘The methodology is based on the integration of a geomechanical reservoir description into fracturing design.’
    • ‘In particular he studied magma flow beneath the Earth's surface to obtain a better understanding of volcanic eruptions when magma flows through fractures in the Earth's surface.’
    • ‘In fact the opening title track is a bit orchestral, though swamped with shortwave radio static and increasingly fractured, distorted bursts of strings, organ and guitar.’
    • ‘Blast-enhanced fracturing is a process used at sites with fractured bedrock formations.’
    • ‘Broken columns of rock fractured from the face are tumbled like a game of jackstraws below.’
    break, snap, crack, cleave, rupture, shatter, smash, smash to smithereens, fragment, splinter, split, separate, burst, blow out
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    1. 1.1with object Sustain a fracture of (a bone)
      ‘he fractured his skull when he was a kid’
      • ‘Three of her ribs had been fractured and her wrist broken.’
      • ‘He testified that his father broke her nose and fractured her ribs.’
      • ‘The mammalian liver can regenerate if a part of it is removed, the antlers of male deer regenerate each year, and fractured bones can mend by a regenerative process.’
      • ‘It was also severely burned and had fractured bones and skull.’
      • ‘It doesn't always work: Five years ago in the Alps she landed badly on a jump, breaking her pelvis and fracturing a vertebra.’
      • ‘Just because your ribs don't hurt when you poke them, does not mean you didn't fracture or break your ribs.’
      • ‘During podium training, she landed short on a tumbling pass, fracturing her fibula and tearing ligaments in her ankle.’
      • ‘He fractured both legs, broke his right ankle and had deep cuts to his forehead.’
      • ‘The scaphoid is the most commonly fractured bone of the wrist.’
      • ‘His leg was broken, his cheekbone and nose fractured and he spent eight days in hospital.’
      • ‘Signs of osteoporosis include joint pain, difficulty standing or sitting up straight, or fracturing a bone without much force or impact.’
      • ‘I got injured a lot, mostly broken wrists and collar-bones, but one Christmas I fractured my pelvis at Limerick and was out for four or five months.’
      • ‘The girl broke shattered her pelvis in two places, fractured her left arm and broke her thumb.’
      • ‘A 55 year-old man broke his pelvis and fractured both his legs.’
      • ‘She has never required any surgical procedures or fractured any bones.’
      • ‘He fractured his neck, and broke an arm and collarbone.’
      • ‘She had a fractured left ankle and a right wrist so badly broken that the bone went through her skin.’
      • ‘I had fractured the bone above the knee and the unbroken part was responding to the reaction of foot movement, but there was no connection, a most eerie sensation.’
      • ‘It is quite impossible to conceive of a more serious attempt at killing someone than this because his skull was fractured and bone went into his brain.’
      • ‘While riding another horse, he fell and shattered his collarbone, broke his shoulder, and fractured his ribs.’
      broken, cracked, splintered, shattered, ruptured
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    2. 1.2 (with reference to an organization or other abstract thing) split or fragment so as to no longer function or exist.
      no object ‘the movement had fractured without his leadership’
      • ‘Already the wind farm legacy has left fractured and divided host communities, where developers have used the divide and rule strategy by creating winners and losers.’
      • ‘So, where do cultural organizations and cultural experiences fit in this increasingly fractured world?’
      • ‘Generations are split up and badly fractured like never before.’
      • ‘The women's movement in Egypt is multi-faceted and fractured.’
      • ‘It's a story of passages, of a family that we have known for many years fracturing and moving on in their separate ways.’
      • ‘For a time, the revolt chilled the atmosphere in which they had to operate and stimulated a vigorous debate within their fracturing movement about the appropriate means to effect the desired end of emancipation.’
      • ‘With many factions and continuous fracturing, the young country struggled to gain a sense of national union.’
      • ‘By the time he had resigned from his position he'd fractured the organization in two and been accused by his own department as being ‘dangerous’.’
      • ‘Large organisations are constructed to fracture and dilute accountability.’
      • ‘We have our high points but then we fracture and split.’
      • ‘The cracks are reappearing; without a common sense of moral purpose, the party will fracture into its constituent, warring factions.’
      • ‘In so doing, the organisation can fracture families and, potentially, tie youngsters into a spiral of irresponsible and dangerous behaviour.’
      • ‘As a consultant, it's not unusual for me to discover a workplace fractured into territories.’
      • ‘The Guild fractured and our leaders began attacking one another, so the whole thing collapsed.’
      • ‘All were in the same community - fractured, split apart, nursing bitterness.’
      • ‘But the splits that fractured the women's movement are hairline cracks compared with the schisms within the Pankhurst family itself.’
      • ‘So, at the moment you still have security forces that are essentially fractured into two camps.’
      • ‘Without goals, everyone will slip into their own direction, and fracture any sense of unity in the work that is produced.’
      • ‘Is it any wonder that the country grows restive and fractured as common sense seeps away from law enforcement?’
      • ‘We're definitely moving in a positive direction, but each time we make a leap to a new level of functionality, things get more complicated and fractured and difficult for a while.’
      break apart, rupture, fissure, snap, come apart, splinter
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Late Middle English: from French, or from Latin fractura, from frangere ‘to break’.