Definition of breakdown in English:


Line breaks: break|down
Pronunciation: /ˈbreɪkdaʊn


  • 1A mechanical failure: breakdowns could totally disrupt production
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    • Most of the contenders in the JWRC suffered mechanical breakdowns, punctures or accidents.
    • But the diagram would also assume a lot: no stuck buttons or mechanical breakdowns, and no frustrated residents walking down the hall late at night and dumping all their waste without sorting it.
    • Some mechanical breakdowns could be avoided if drivers properly inspected the buses before they begin their routes, as required by federal law, Scanlon said.
  • 2A failure of a relationship or system: a breakdown in military discipline a communications breakdown [mass noun]: some of these women will have experienced marital breakdown
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    • It's wrong to let them off the hook altogether and only blame the managers, the systems and a breakdown in communications.
    • The course is designed to assist people who are separated and help them meet other people who have experienced a breakdown in a relationship.
    • But even if the collection Scheme does become operational there is already a breakdown in the communication system that would have helped to make it more efficient.
  • 2.1A sudden collapse in someone’s mental health: Heather had a breakdown following the death of her sister
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    • Frontline troops are finding their tours of duty extended, causing huge morale problems and an epidemic of breakdowns and mental health problems.
    • He's gotten over all the deaths, mental breakdowns, and abandonment he used to obsess over, and now the angst in his lyrics seems to be more a matter of commercial necessity than deeply felt personal expression.
    • This is what eventually led to his mental breakdown and the deaths of many of the heads of Britain.
    nervous breakdown, (mental) collapse
    informal crack-up
  • 3The chemical or physical decomposition of something: the breakdown of ammonia to nitrites
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    • Over thousands to millions of years, the physical breakdown and chemical weathering of volcanic rocks have formed some of the most fertile soils on Earth.
    • Some water supplies (mostly ponds and streams) contain some natural organic chemicals from the breakdown of plants and leaves.
    • All of them block the breakdown of a brain chemical called acetylcholine that is important in memory and other intellectual functions.
  • 3.1An explanatory analysis, especially of statistics: a detailed cost breakdown
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    • It also gives a detailed breakdown of costs to distributors and compares this to the selling prices.
    • Ask for a detailed breakdown of programme costs.
    • We'll offer analysis and statistical breakdowns, more photos, more of everything.
    analysis, classification, categorization, itemization, dissection; examination, investigation

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a small amount; a little