break loose

Idioms & Phrases

break loose

Escape from restraint, as in The boat broke loose from its moorings, or He finally broke loose from the school of abstract expressionism. This expression also appears in all hell breaks loose, which indicates a state of fury or chaos, as in When Dad finds out you broke his watch, all hell will break loose, or When the children saw the dead pigeon in the hall, all hell broke loose. [Early 1400s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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