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[hous-breyk] /ˈhaʊsˌbreɪk/
verb (used with object), housebroke, housebroken, housebreaking.
to train (a pet) to excrete outdoors or in a specific place.
Origin of housebreak
1895-1900; house + break Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for housebreaking
Historical Examples
  • housebreaking is a very different business from the forcible entry of country post-offices, and The Hopper was nervous.

    A Reversible Santa Claus Meredith Nicholson
  • "housebreaking is entirely out of my province," Tranter objected.

    The Crooked House Brandon Fleming
  • Then it occurred to me that—aside from my one experience in housebreaking—that I'd been playing according to the rules.

    Highways in Hiding George Oliver Smith
  • If I don't see you after we've bagged him I'd better charge him with housebreaking, I suppose?

    The Grell Mystery Frank Froest
  • The seal-hunter, from a presumed acquaintance with housebreaking, is listened to with attention.

  • He cannot enter, of course, or we could arrest him on a charge of housebreaking!

  • I had to come to her assistance in order to discover, before the end of the day, the object of her housebreaking.

    The Mason-bees J. Henri Fabre
  • It was probably overtime at housebreaking that had told on him.

    Dwellers in Arcady Albert Bigelow Paine
  • I knew Emmeline Strong would bring an action against him for housebreaking as likely as not.

    Chronicles of Avonlea Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • Yes; he has just been sent to the Maryland penitentiary for housebreaking.

    Try Again Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for housebreaking


(criminal law) the act of entering a building as a trespasser for an unlawful purpose. Assimilated with burglary, 1968
Derived Forms
housebreaker, noun
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 housebreaking



1820, "to break into a house criminally;" see house (n.) + break (v.). Perhaps a back-formation from housebreaker, attested from mid-14c. Sense of "to train a domestic animal to be clean in the house" is from 1881. Related: Housebreaking; housebroken.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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