break down something


break down something
break down (something) 1. to divide something into smaller parts.

The quickest way to get this job done is to break it down into a number of specific steps.

2. to cause something to weaken or decay.

Temperatures were high enough to break down the chemicals.

One sniff of that chocolate was enough to break down my determination not to eat sweets.

3. to explain something.

Let me break it down for you — when a dog shows its teeth, it's about to attack you.


New idioms dictionary. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • break down — (something) 1. to divide something into smaller parts. The quickest way to get this job done is to break it down into a number of specific steps. 2. to cause something to weaken or decay. Temperatures were high enough to break down the chemicals …   New idioms dictionary

  • break down — 1) PHRASAL VERB If a machine or a vehicle breaks down, it stops working. [V P] Their car broke down. 2) PHRASAL VERB If a discussion, relationship, or system breaks down, it fails because of a problem or disagreement. [V P] Talks with business… …   English dictionary

  • break down — {v.} (stress on down ) 1. To smash or hit (something) so that it falls; cause to fall by force. * /The firemen broke down the door./ 2. To reduce or destroy the strength or effect of; weaken; win over. * /By helpful kindness the teacher broke… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • break down — {v.} (stress on down ) 1. To smash or hit (something) so that it falls; cause to fall by force. * /The firemen broke down the door./ 2. To reduce or destroy the strength or effect of; weaken; win over. * /By helpful kindness the teacher broke… …   Dictionary of American idioms

  • break down — verb 1. make ineffective (Freq. 3) Martin Luther King tried to break down racial discrimination • Syn: ↑crush • Derivationally related forms: ↑breakdown • Hypernyms: ↑change, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • break down phrasal — verb 1 MACHINE (I) if a large machine, especially a car, breaks down, it stops working: The elevators in this building are always breaking down. 2 FAIL (I) if a discussion, system etc breaks down, it fails because there are problems: Peace talks… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • break down — phrasal verb Word forms break down : present tense I/you/we/they break down he/she/it breaks down present participle breaking down past tense broke down past participle broken down 1) [intransitive] if a machine or vehicle breaks down, it stops… …   English dictionary

  • break·down — /ˈbreıkˌdaʊn/ noun, pl downs 1 : a failure of a machine to function : an occurrence in which a machine (such as a car) stops working [count] We had a breakdown on the highway. [=our car broke down on the highway; our car stopped working on the… …   Useful english dictionary

  • break down — UK US break down Phrasal Verb with break({{}}/breɪk/ verb [T] (broke, broken) ► [I or T] to separate, or to separate something, into smaller parts: »Can you break down our expenses by month and by region? »The data breaks down into three main… …   Financial and business terms

  • break down —  1. Split something up into component parts or small divisions for purposes of analysis. Hence n. break down The action of doing this.  2. break( )down n. Physical or mental collapse. Inability to function …   A concise dictionary of English slang