'Break' in a figurative sense

Xavier da Silva

Senior Member
Hello everyone,

I'd like to know if I can use the verb to "break" in a context that you don't really break something into pieces but make it stop working properly, by touching, moving, using, etc. Please, take a look at the contexts:


"Hey, stop using the Dvd so much or you'll end up breaking it (making it stop working properly)."


"My sister broke my camera."
"Really? What did she do?"
"She pressed the wrong button when using it and now it doesn't work."

Break: make something stop working, by using, touching, carrying, etc not necessarily shattering, breaking into pieces like glass.

Thank you very much in advance!
  • JamesM

    Senior Member
    Yes, absolutely. This is a very common use of the word. In fact, the other day I looked up a word in a Spanish-English dictionary only to have all the Spanish speakers around me say that they had never heard the word before. I responded, "The dictionary must be broken." (It was meant to be humorous.) I meant that it was not operating properly, not that it stopped working.
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