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breakdown

[breyk-doun] /ˈbreɪkˌdaʊn/
noun
1.
a breaking down, wearing out, or sudden loss of ability to function efficiently, as of a machine.
2.
a loss of mental or physical health; collapse.
3.
an analysis or classification of something; division into parts, categories, processes, etc.
4.
Chemistry.
  1. decomposition.
  2. analysis (def 6).
5.
Electricity. an electric discharge passing through faulty insulation or other material used to separate circuits or passing between electrodes in a vacuum or gas-filled tube.
6.
a noisy, lively folk dance.
Origin
1825-1835
1825-35; noun use of verb phrase break down
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for breakdown
  • It's interesting that you are having a nervous breakdown, so to speak.
  • She went to the meeting because she felt she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
  • She wondered if this was a nervous breakdown, the genuine article.
  • In the nineteen-eighties, he drank himself into a nervous breakdown.
  • Pete nearly has a breakdown trying to decide, but finally settles on apple.
  • Maybe that's because the role arthropods play in the breakdown of a dinosaur body has only been relatively recently appreciated.
  • Once in the environment, it takes months to hundreds of years for plastic bags to breakdown.
  • Exposure to moisture, air and the elements enhance that breakdown.
  • Bile acids are components of bile produced during the breakdown of cholesterol in the liver.
  • There are myriad reasons for the breakdown, all of which might spark curiosity and intellectual energy.
British Dictionary definitions for breakdown

break down

verb (adverb)
1.
(intransitive) to cease to function; become ineffective: communications had broken down
2.
to yield or cause to yield, esp to strong emotion or tears: she broke down in anguish
3.
(transitive) to crush or destroy
4.
(intransitive) to have a nervous breakdown
5.
to analyse or be subjected to analysis
6.
to separate or cause to separate into simpler chemical elements; decompose
7.
(transitive) (NZ) to saw (a large log) into planks
8.
(Austral & NZ, informal) break it down
  1. stop it
  2. don't expect me to believe that; come off it
noun
9.
an act or instance of breaking down; collapse
10.
short for nervous breakdown
11.
an analysis or classification of something into its component parts: he prepared a breakdown of the report
12.
the sudden electrical discharge through an insulator or between two electrodes in a vacuum or gas discharge tube
13.
(electrical engineering) the sudden transition, dependent on the bias magnitude, from a high to a low dynamic resistance in a semiconductor device
14.
a lively American country dance
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for breakdown
n.

"a collapse," 1832, from break (v.) + down (adv.). The verbal phrase is attested from late 14c. The noun, specifically of machinery, is from 1838; meaning "an analysis in detail" is from 1936. Nervous breakdown is from 1905.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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breakdown in Medicine

breakdown break·down (brāk'doun')
n.

  1. The act or process of failing to function or continue.

  2. A typically sudden collapse in physical or mental health.

  3. Disintegration or decomposition into parts or elements.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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