Past participle of break.
1. Forcibly separated into two or more pieces; fractured: a broken arm; broken glass.
2. Sundered by divorce, separation, or desertion of a parent or parents: children from broken homes; a broken marriage.
3. Having been violated: a broken promise.
a. Incomplete: a broken set of books.
b. Being in a state of disarray; disordered: troops fleeing in broken ranks.
a. Intermittently stopping and starting; discontinuous: a broken cable transmission.
b. Varying abruptly, as in pitch: broken sobs.
c. Spoken with gaps and errors: broken English.
6. Topographically rough; uneven: broken terrain.
a. Subdued totally; humbled: a broken spirit.
b. Weakened and infirm: broken health.
8. Crushed by grief: died of a broken heart.
9. Financially ruined; bankrupt.
10. Not functioning; out of order: a broken washing machine.
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.