break in

Idioms & Phrases

break in

  1. Enter by force, as in The thieves broke in through the back door. [Mid-1500s]

  2. Also, break in on. Interrupt or disturb something unexpectedly, as in His assistant broke in with the bad news just as we were ready to sign the agreement, or He broke in on our private talks. [Mid-1600s]

  3. Train or instruct someone in a new job or enterprise, as in Every semester she had to break in a new teaching assistant. [Late 1700s]

  4. Loosen or soften with use, as in It takes a while to break in a pair of new shoes.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Explore Dictionary.com
Previous Definition: break ground
Next Definition: break into
Words Near: break in
More from Thesaurus.com
Synonyms and Antonyms for break in
More from Reference.com
Search for articles containing break in
More from Dictionary.com Translator
Dictionary.com Word FAQs

Dictionary.com presents 366 FAQs, incorporating some of the frequently asked questions from the past with newer queries.

Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature