a. The act or process of failing to function or continue.
b. The condition resulting from this: a breakdown in communication.
2. Electricity The abrupt failure of an insulator or insulating medium to restrict the flow of current.
3. A typically sudden collapse in physical or mental health.
4. An analysis, an outline, or a summary consisting of itemized data or essentials.
5. Disintegration or decomposition into parts or elements.
a. A noisy, energetic American country dance.
b. The music for this dance.
7. A popular dance originating in the early 1970s, performed to funk music.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.