See also: Broken



From Middle English broken, from Old English brocen, ġebrocen, from Proto-Germanic *brukanaz, past participle of Proto-Germanic *brekaną (to break). Cognate with Dutch gebroken (broken), German Low German broken (broken), German gebrochen (broken).

Morphologically broke +‎ -n.


  • enPR: brōk'ən, IPA(key): /ˈbɹəʊkən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -əʊkən



  1. past participle of break


broken (comparative more broken, superlative most broken)

a broken mug.
  1. Fragmented, in separate pieces.
    • 2022 September 15, President Zelensky visits frontline as Ukraine reclaims more territory - BBC News[1], BBC News, archived from the original on 15 September 2022, 2:33 from the start:
      Local people say there were Russian and Chechen forces here. [] Over here on the wall, one interesting detail- a single word, which someone has written in broken English: "Sori".
    1. (of a bone or body part) Fractured; having the bone in pieces.
      My arm is broken!
      the ground was littered with broken bones
      One recent morning the team had to replace a broken weather research station.
    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.
    5. (meteorology, of the sky) Five-eighths to seven-eighths obscured by clouds; incompletely covered by clouds.
      Tomorrow: broken skies.
    6. (of a melody) having periods of silence scattered throughout; not regularly continuous.
  2. (of a promise, etc) Breached; violated; not kept.
    broken promises of neutrality
    broken vows
    the broken covenant
  3. Non-functional; not functioning properly.
    I think my doorbell is 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. (of language) Grammatically non-standard, especially as a result of being produced by a non-native speaker.
      • 1926, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Land of Mist[2]:
        His conversation was in French with Mailey and Roxton, who both spoke the language well, but he had to fall back upon broken English with Malone, who could only utter still more broken French in reply.
      • 1979, “Broken English”, performed by Marianne Faithfull:
        Don't say it in Russian / Don't say it in German / Say it in broken English
    4. (colloquial, US, of a situation) Not having gone in the way intended; saddening.
      Oh man! That is just broken!
  4. (of a person) Completely defeated and dispirited; shattered; destroyed.
    The bankruptcy and divorce, together with the death of his son, left him completely broken.
  5. Having no money; bankrupt, broke.
    (The addition of quotations indicative of this usage is being sought:)
  6. (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.
  7. (sports and gaming, of a tactic or option) Overpowered; overly powerful; too powerful.




Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Further readingEdit

  • broken at OneLook Dictionary Search