break free (third-person singular simple present breaks free, present participle breaking free, simple past broke free, past participle broken free)
- To liberate oneself; to free oneself; to become free (from or of something or someone).
During the storm, the boat broke free from its moorings.
To address the climate crisis, we need to break free of our addiction to fossil fuels.
- 1721, Aaron Hill, The Fatal Extravagance, London: T. Jauncy, [Scene 1], p. 9,
- […] I saw his Lady,
- Wild, with a Storm of Grief! Her Hair dishevel’d!
- And her loose Robes, blown, careless, by the Wind!
- Struggling, with weeping Servants, to break free.
1883 June, Ralph Iron [pseudonym; Olive Schreiner], “Times and Seasons”, in The Story of an African Farm, 2nd edition, New York, N.Y.: H. M. Caldwell Company, OCLC 5141001, part II, section VII, page 171:
When the soul breaks free from the arms of a superstition, bits of the claws and talons break themselves off in him. It is not the work of a day to squeeze them out.
1900 December – 1901 October, Rudyard Kipling, chapter IX, in Kim (Macmillan’s Colonial Library; no. 414), London: Macmillan and Co., published 1901, OCLC 561617680, page 235:
[A]n elephant was captured for a time by the king's hunters and, ere he broke free, beringed with a grievous leg-iron.
- 1968, Desmond Bagley, The Vivero Letter, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Chapter 8, section 7, p. 189,
- […] the chopper slowed and wheeled around the treetop. It was one of the big ones whose crown had broken free of the rest to spread luxuriantly in the upper air […]
2012 April 9, Mandeep Sanghera, “Tottenham 1 - 2 Norwich”, in BBC Sport:
Tottenham left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto broke free after a clever one-two with Emmanuel Adebayor, only to see his shot brilliantly saved by the Norwich keeper.