• Broken


    • enPR: brōk'ən, IPA: /ˈbrəʊkən/
    • Rhymes: -əʊkən


    1. Past participle of break

    Full definition of broken



    1. Fragmented, in separate pieces.
      1. (of a bone or body part) Fractured; having the bone in pieces.My arm is broken!the ground was littered with broken bones
      2. (of skin) Split or ruptured.A dog bit my leg and now the skin is broken.
      3. (of a line) Dashed, made up of short lines with small gaps between each one and the next.
      4. (of sleep) Interrupted; not continuous.
        • unknown date, Jack London, White Fang:Then the circle would lie down again, and here and there a wolf would resume its broken nap.
      5. (meteorology, of the sky) Five-eighths to seven-eighths obscured by clouds; incompletely covered by clouds.Tomorrow: broken skies.
      6. (of a promise, etc) Breeched; violated; not kept.broken promises of neutrality, broken vows, the broken covenant
      7. Non-functional; not functioning properly.I think my doorbell broken.
        1. (of an electronic connection) Disconnected, no longer open or carrying traffic.
        2. (software, informal) Badly designed or implemented.This is the most broken application I've seen in a long time.
        3. (pejorative, of language) Grammatically non-standard, especially as a result of being a non-native speaker.
        4. (colloquial, US, of a situation) Not having gone in the way intended; saddening.Oh man! That is just broken!
      8. (of a person) Completely defeated and dispirited; shattered; destroyed.The bankruptcy and divorce, together with the death of his son, left him completely broken.
      9. Having no money; bankrupt, broke.
      10. (of land) Uneven.
        • 2005, Will Cook, Until Darkness Disappears, page 54:All that day they rode into broken land. The prairie with its grass and rolling hills was behind them, and they entered a sparse, dry, rocky country, full of draws and short cañons and ominous buttresses.
      11. (sports and gaming, of a tactic or option) Overpowered; overly powerful; too powerful.

    Usage notes

    Nouns to which "broken" is often applied: glass, vase, cup, mirror, window, bone, wing, leg, arm, hand, foot, heart, egg, tool, sword, column, road, bridge, stick, device, machine, camera, TV, car, computer, promise, vow, law, trust, dream, relationship, friendship, love, family, marriage, bond, tie, silence, ground, land, circle, image, language, spirit, soul.

    Related terms

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