'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:

1:

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

2:

"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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