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Break down   /breɪk daʊn/   Listen
Break down

verb
1.
Make ineffective.  Synonym: crush.
2.
Make a mathematical, chemical, or grammatical analysis of; break down into components or essential features.  Synonyms: analyse, analyze, dissect, take apart.  "Analyze a sentence" , "Analyze a chemical compound"
3.
Lose control of one's emotions.  Synonyms: lose it, snap.  "When her baby died, she snapped"
4.
Stop operating or functioning.  Synonyms: break, conk out, die, fail, give out, give way, go, go bad.  "The car died on the road" , "The bus we travelled in broke down on the way to town" , "The coffee maker broke" , "The engine failed on the way to town" , "Her eyesight went after the accident"
5.
Fall apart.  Synonyms: collapse, crumble, crumple, tumble.  "Negotiations broke down"
6.
Cause to fall or collapse.
7.
Separate (substances) into constituent elements or parts.  Synonyms: break up, decompose.
8.
Collapse due to fatigue, an illness, or a sudden attack.  Synonym: collapse.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Break down" Quotes from Famous Books



... moment when I had calculated to a nicety my conviction of their action, their feeling? It was possible that I had killed Sally's love for me, though I could not believe so; but it was very possible that, still loving me, she might never break down the barrier between us. The beginning of that journey distressed me physically; yet, gradually, as I grew accustomed to the roll of the stage and to occasional jars, I found myself easier in body. Fortunately there had been rain, which settled the ...
— The Rustlers of Pecos County • Zane Grey

... the signal of the fourth watch had sounded. In this part there was a low and narrow gate, opening into a street which was little frequented, and which led through a deserted part of the city. He ordered them, after scaling the wall, to proceed to this gate, and break down the bars on the inside by force, and when they were in possession of that part of the city, to give a signal with a cornet, that the rest of the troops might be brought up, observing that he would ...
— The History of Rome; Books Nine to Twenty-Six • Titus Livius

... you some water?" I said at last. He nodded, and gulped in a horrible fashion. I got him the mug, and while he drank I longed, but did not dare, to say, "Are you afraid of ... that?" I thought if one could say the word it might break down that dumb fright, draw the flesh up again over those bulging eyes, give him a sort of anchor, a confessional, even if it was only me. But I didn't dare. Gayner is one of those men so pent up, so rigid with some inner indignation, one cannot tamper ...
— A Diary Without Dates • Enid Bagnold

... stood on the ramparts and in the trenches, straining eyes and ears through the perpetual icy mists of that black winter to catch the sight and sound of a coming foe. Especially the by-watches, as they were called, were enough to break down constitutions of iron; for, all day and night, men were stationed in the inundated regions, bound on pain of death to stand in the water and watch for a possible movement of the enemy, until the waves should rise so high as to make ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... and that she would doubtless be both vexed and ashamed of herself in the morning, she too was equally puzzled. For naturally she was not so confident as she pretended, although not until her hour came for rest and after she had actually tumbled into bed did she break down. Then Esther and Sylvia Wharton, who in some strange, quiet fashion seemed a comfort to everyone to-night, had insisted that they relieve ...
— The Camp Fire Girls at Sunrise Hill • Margaret Vandercook

... spears. Heaps upon heaps, here, there, in throngs they fell Strewn in the dust. As when a river in flood Comes thundering down, banks crumble on either side To drifting sand: on seaward rolls the surge Tossing wild crests, while cliffs on every hand Ring crashing echoes, as their brows break down Beneath long-leaping roaring waterfalls, And dikes are swept away; so fell in dust The war-famed Argives by Eurypylus slain, Such as he overtook in that red rout. Some few escaped, whom strength of fleeing feet Delivered. ...
— The Fall of Troy • Smyrnaeus Quintus

... more lest she should break down entirely; and, glancing significantly at each other, the two ladies called Jennie, and bade her take her young mistress ...
— Bessie's Fortune - A Novel • Mary J. Holmes

... the eminent danger of my friends, and not thinking of myself, I ordered my carriage while the blackguards were endeavouring to break down the gates. My good George, the coachman, helped me to rush through the door and we set off at a furious gallop. Many pistol shots were fired at me, but I was in God's ...
— The Magnificent Montez - From Courtesan to Convert • Horace Wyndham

... Wizard sought to stir her, to break down her courage. "How unfortunate it is that you have no prince to aid in this good work," he taunted. "Such a prince as Radiance, perhaps—he, whom you ran such risks to aid. But he has returned to the Land of Fire with his pale princess and will hardly trouble himself now to release you ...
— The Shadow Witch • Gertrude Crownfield

... mystery. Siegfried, who stands nearest, receives her as she totters, near to falling. As she lies for a moment in the well-known arms, it seems impossible, beyond everything impossible, that his unimaginable purpose should not break down, that he should not be forced to drop this incomprehensible feint of strangeness. But her dying eyes searching the face close to them discover in it no glimmer of feeling. Her heart-broken murmur: "Siegfried.... knows me not?" touches no chord. The ...
— The Wagnerian Romances • Gertrude Hall

... Ada would say I was exceedingly carnal. But something in the touch of that soft, wrinkled hand, in whose veins I knew ran mine own blood, seemed to break down all my defences. I laid my head down on the coverlet, my cheek upon her hand, and in answer I poured forth all that had been so long shut close in mine own heart—that longing cry within me for some real, warm, human love, that ceaseless ...
— In Convent Walls - The Story of the Despensers • Emily Sarah Holt

... persisted in getting her education, however, and graduated at nineteen, the first scholar, and an invalid. Again her parents were gratified and anxious. She is overworked, said they, and wondered why girls break down so. To insure her recovery, a second and longer travel was undertaken. Egypt and Asia were added to Europe, and nearly two years were allotted to the cure. With change of air and scene her health improved, but not so rapidly as with the previous journey. She returned ...
— Sex in Education - or, A Fair Chance for Girls • Edward H. Clarke

... suspension of that part of the Ordinance relating to slavery. These reports were not acted on in the House. Subsequently, Governor Harrison and his Legislature appealed to the Senate and a special committee to suspend the article, but when the committee reported adversely, all efforts to break down the legal barrier to slavery in the ...
— Slavery and Four Years of War, Vol. 1-2 • Joseph Warren Keifer

... it's made a man of you. This world is full of sorrow, but we must bear it without grumbling. You know that, of course. Consequently, now that I've some bad news to break to you, I feel 'sif the shock won't knock you endways, but'll be received with patient resignation. I say I hope you won't break down an' give away to your feelin's when I tell you that there tree is no sugar-maple at all. Grashus! why, that's a black hickory. It is, indeed; and you might as well bore for maple-sugar in the ...
— Elbow-Room - A Novel Without a Plot • Charles Heber Clark (AKA Max Adeler)

... is at home. But his power of endurance is by no means commensurate with these traits. In woman they find a congenial spirit, a heart open, and waiting for their reception.—"Those disasters," says an elegant writer, "which break down and subdue the spirit of man, and prostrate him in the dust, seem to call forth all the energies of the softer sex, and give such intrepidity and elevation to their character, that at times, it approaches to sublimity." Who does not perceive that this sex enjoys pre-eminent ...
— The Young Maiden • A. B. (Artemas Bowers) Muzzey

... have both you and your sergeant taken up stairs," he said at last. "Come, Miss Hardy, you have no right to break down now." ...
— Love Under Fire • Randall Parrish

... good-humour and the equanimity of it all. He is not interested in himself in a morbid or self-conscious way; he has not the slightest wish to make himself out to be fine or magnificent or superior—it is quite the other way. He is merely going to try to break down the barriers between soul and soul, to let the river of self ripple and welter and wash among the grasses at the feet of man. He does not wish you to admire it, though he hopes you may love it; there are ...
— Escape and Other Essays • Arthur Christopher Benson

... above the town. The Imperialists numbered only 9,627 men; they were discouraged by defeats and by the consciousness that no serious stand could be attempted before they reached the neighbourhood of Mantua; and their efforts to break down the bridge were now frustrated by the French, who, posted behind the walls of Lodi on the higher bank of the stream, swept their opponents' position with a searching artillery fire. Having shaken ...
— The Life of Napoleon I (Volumes, 1 and 2) • John Holland Rose

... let the scientific and the philosophico-religious views of the world go on side by side as two entirely heterogeneous modes of looking at things. The metaphysical impulse to generalization and unification spurs him on to break down the boundary between the two spheres, and, since the physical view of things has become part of his flesh and blood, psychical phenomena are for him nothing but brain-vibrations, and the freedom of the will and all religious ideas, ...
— History Of Modern Philosophy - From Nicolas of Cusa to the Present Time • Richard Falckenberg

... Privilege—HARCOURT, a plain man, in civilian costume! Worst of it was, they could not go away and change their clothes. No one knows what may happen from hour to hour in House of Commons; debate on Privilege might break down; Address brought on, and what would happen to British Constitution if Mover and Seconder were dragged in ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 98, February 22nd, 1890 • Various

... civilization. Some of the young men are tired of Indian ways. They think the dance is something that ought to be thrown away. These young men now have a place to spend their evenings, beyond the dance house. These houses and native helpers break down more superstition and Indian life than any other influence on the reservation. In the matter of dress it is the same. Here is an Indian woman who is not ashamed to wear a dress like a white woman. The teachers in the day schools ...
— The American Missionary, Vol. 44, No. 5, May 1890 • Various

... be surprised, Mr. PUNCHINELLO, but we are here for the public good. We have reason to suspect, that, following the example of the Chinese Opium-smugglers, the vile traitors who are trying to break down our iron interests have smuggled quantities of scrap—iron into this country, and it is our belief that these sunken logs have been bored ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 17, July 23, 1870 • Various

... governess, but necessarily persevered in, for Maria loved music, and had just voice and ear sufficient to render this single accomplishment not hopeless, but a certain want of power of sustained effort made her always break down at the moment she seemed to be doing best. Former governesses had lost patience, but Miss Fennimore had early given up the case, and never scolded her for her failures; she made her attempt less, and she was improving more, and shedding fewer tears ...
— Hopes and Fears - scenes from the life of a spinster • Charlotte M. Yonge

... "He's happy now—he's forgotten for the moment. But sometimes it comes back on him terribly—what he is, you know. I've seen him over there lose control—want to kill himself. He says he can't help such times. It will seem to him that someone has shut him in a dark room and he must break down its walls—break out into the light. He would try to break the walls down—like a caged beast. It wasn't pretty. And I'm his eyes and all his life, and no old bird is ever going to set him thinking I'm not perfectly beautiful. That's the ...
— The Wrong Twin • Harry Leon Wilson

... she had seemed almost on the verge of a collapse, and Bessie had been afraid that her chum, unused to hardships of any sort, and to roughing it, as country girls almost all learn to do from the time they are very small, was going to break down. But now Dolly seemed to be as resolute and as unafraid as Bessie herself, and the knowledge naturally cheered Bessie, since it assured her that she would not have ...
— The Camp Fire Girls on the Farm - Or, Bessie King's New Chum • Jane L. Stewart

... that Fetich joke! Poor old pater!" Felix folded his arms across his eyes and lay perfectly quiet; I think I saw a tear run down the side of his face to his ear, but I won't be sure. That just brought that horrid lump right back into my throat, but I was determined I wouldn't break down again; so I got up, and taking a pillow from the bed, brought it over to slip under Fee's head,—the floor was so hard ...
— We Ten - Or, The Story of the Roses • Lyda Farrington Kraus

... as I should wish it; but, Robert, you cannot follow these three men. You will break down, my boy.' ...
— History of the Negro Race in America From 1619 to 1880. Vol 1 - Negroes as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens • George W. Williams

... conditions of life change rapidly, through that development of organized science which is the natural method of the New Civilization. The old tradition demands that national loyalties and ancient belligerence should continue. The new has produced means of communication that break down the pens and separations of human life upon which nationalist emotion depends. The old tradition insists upon its ancient blood-letting of war; the new knowledge carries that war to undreamt of levels of destruction. The ancient system ...
— The Pivot of Civilization • Margaret Sanger

... come," he said, "as certain to come in Great Britain as in Ireland, and the sooner the better. The movement about the sewerage rates in London," he added, "is the first symptom of the land war in London. It is the thin edge of the wedge to break down landlordism ...
— Ireland Under Coercion (2nd ed.) (2 of 2) (1888) • William Henry Hurlbert

... me, as I have said. Let me have her. When I no longer need her—I am an old woman, Mr. Gray—she will be fit to earn her own living. Everything I have goes back to my nephew Jarvis Lord Iniscrone. But Mary will not suffer. Think! What have you to give her but a life of drudgery under which she will break down—die, perhaps?" ...
— Mary Gray • Katharine Tynan

... for the protection of wealth, until civilisation had multiplied the forms of portable property, that thieving became a liberal and an elegant profession. True, in pastoral society, the lawless man was eager to lift cattle, to break down the barrier between robbery and warfare. But the contrast is as sharp between the savagery of the ancient reiver and the polished performance of Captain Hind as between the daub of the pavement and ...
— A Book of Scoundrels • Charles Whibley

... gone through which cannot be concluded in a moment. Under these circumstances, we had only this choice—whether we should be contented to present a treaty to Parliament without the usual forms having been gone through, or whether we should break down the rule which we think it is, on the whole, most desirable to observe, and we thought it best to adopt the course we have followed in the matter. The hon. member for Wakefield (Mr. Somerset Beaumont) has asked whether this treaty has been concluded ...
— Selected Speeches on British Foreign Policy 1738-1914 • Edgar Jones

... the very human failing of "putting off" or postponing) cannot break down the veto power of the president, by pouring an avalanche of bills upon him within the last few ...
— Studies in Civics • James T. McCleary

... any personal ambition. It was quite otherwise with James. He was by no means fearless, and he cared more for James Stuart than for either England or Scotland. He had an overweening opinion of his skill in kingcraft. In coming to Westminster it was his policy to use his newly acquired power to break down the Puritan party in both kingdoms and to fasten episcopacy upon Scotland. In pursuing this policy he took no heed of English national sentiment, but was quite ready to defy and insult it, even to the point of making—before children who remembered ...
— The Beginnings of New England - Or the Puritan Theocracy in its Relations to Civil and Religious Liberty • John Fiske

... age is to break down all needless restrictions upon social and commercial intercourse. Nations are now as much akin to each other as provinces were of old. Prejudices disappear by contact. People of different nations learn to respect each other as they find that their differences ...
— Recollections of Forty Years in the House, Senate and Cabinet - An Autobiography. • John Sherman

... Comet." Another had been added to the list of Mary Somervilles and Caroline Herschels. Perhaps there was additional zest now in the mathematical work in the Coast Survey. She also assisted in compiling the American Nautical Almanac, and wrote for the scientific periodicals. Did she break down from her unusual brain work? Oh, no! Probably astronomical work was not nearly so hard as her mother's,—the care of ...
— Lives of Girls Who Became Famous • Sarah Knowles Bolton

... inaugurated by the refusal of President Washington to accept a third term. President Jefferson was also urged to stand for a third term, but he, too, preferred to retire to private life as Washington had done. The adherents of General Grant strove to break down this precedent in 1880 but were defeated. Although President Roosevelt had served a part of a term and one full term the argument of a third term was ...
— Our Government: Local, State, and National: Idaho Edition • J.A. James

... not believe that law came from God, and that the powers that be are ordained by Him. Therefore, whenever they were oppressed, they did not try to right themselves by lawful ways, according to the old English God-fearing custom, but to break down the old law by riot and bloodshed, and then to set up new laws of their own. But those new laws would never stand. They made them, but they would not obey them when they were made, and they could not make others obey them; because they had no real reverence for ...
— Sermons on National Subjects • Charles Kingsley

... winter in Winesburg, Louise had an adventure that gave a new impulse to her desire to break down the wall that she thought stood between her and John Hardy. It was Wednesday and immediately after the evening meal Albert Hardy put on his hat and went away. Young John brought the wood and put it in the box in Louise's room. "You do work hard, ...
— Winesburg, Ohio • Sherwood Anderson

... here to juggle with words, or to listen to such play. Whether the lady Elissa spoke of the gods she serves or of a man is one to me. I care not of whom she spoke, but for her words I do care. Now hearken, you city of traders: If this is to be thy answer, then I break down that bridge which I have built, and it is war between you and my Tribes, war to the end. But let her change her words, and whether she loves me or loves me not, come to be my wife, and, for my day, the bridge shall stand; for once that we are wed I can surely teach her love, or if I cannot, ...
— Elissa • H. Rider Haggard

... was ripe and heavy, ready at all points to fall. In the still October air the husks above our heads would loosen, and the brown nuts rustle through the foliage, and with a dull short thud, like drops of thunder-rain, break down upon the sod. At the foot of this rich forest, wedged in between huge buttresses, we found Pontremoli, and changed our horses here for the last time. It was Sunday, and the little town was alive with country-folk; tall stalwart fellows wearing peacock's feathers ...
— New Italian sketches • John Addington Symonds

... of a country knows that there can be no freedom until there is no law. Every man's duty is to disregard duty. So, by faring far on the wings of desire, he helps break down the slavery that binds us. Obey the Cosmic Urge of your soul regardless of where it leads ...
— The Big-Town Round-Up • William MacLeod Raine

... in the fenny countries their flocks are so numerous, as to break down whole acres of reeds by settling on them. This disposition of starlings to fly in close swarms was observed even by Homer, who compares the foe flying from one of his heroes to a cloud of stares retiring dismayed at the approach of ...
— Types of Children's Literature • Edited by Walter Barnes

... at Winthrop, but, as though fearful of interruption, toward the door. His eyes were harassed, furtive, filled with miserable indecision. Many times before Winthrop had seen men in such a state. He knew that for the sufferer it foretold a physical break down, or that he would seek relief in full confession. To give the man confidence, he abandoned his ...
— Vera - The Medium • Richard Harding Davis

... belonged to any nation. Its very vastness too seems to protect it. I can as soon believe that shoals of sea-carp may overcome the whale, or an army of emmets the elephant or rhinoceros, as that one nation, or many banded together, can break down the power of Rome.' ...
— Zenobia - or, The Fall of Palmyra • William Ware

... But, on the other hand, one who was capable of judging between the power of political ascendency, strengthened by its combinations and order, and the mere ebullitions of passion, however loud and clamorous, might readily have seen that the latter was not yet displayed in sufficient energy to break down the barriers which the ...
— The Bravo • J. Fenimore Cooper

... Why on earth should you break down? You have a mind to know, and you know your own mind. That's everything. But of course you've had no experience of matters of this sort. He ...
— Phyllis of Philistia • Frank Frankfort Moore

... and shrinks from nothing in the way of severity, not even, if necessary, from extermination, his outlook is one of deep despair. He calculates the amount of force, of money, of time, necessary to break down all resistance: he is minute and perhaps skilful in building his forts and disposing his garrisons; he is very earnest about the necessity of cutting broad roads through the woods, and building bridges in place of fords; he contemplates restored churches, parish schools, a better order of ...
— Spenser - (English Men of Letters Series) • R. W. Church

... both of them had come another fear, greater than their dread of Maisie's pain, the fear of each other's illness. Their splendid physical health was beginning to break down. They worked harder than ever on the land; but hard work exhausted them at the end of the day. They went on from a sense of duty, dull and implacable, but they had no more pleasure in it. Anne became every night more restless, every day more tired and anaemic. Jerrold ate less and slept ...
— Anne Severn and the Fieldings • May Sinclair

... efforts of her citizens to keep up trade with the blockaded ports, she encouraged and aided them in every way in her power. And aside from her mere sympathy with the struggles of the young Confederacy, England had a most powerful incentive to break down the blockade. In Manchester the huge cotton-mills, employing thousands of hands, were shut down for lack of cotton, and the mill-hands were starving for lack of work; while shut up in the blockaded ports of the South were tons upon tons of the fleecy staple, that, ...
— The Naval History of the United States - Volume 2 (of 2) • Willis J. Abbot

... selecting a couple of large ones, knotted their tops together, forming thereby a little room about four feet long by two wide. In this I cut and spread some more snow grass and pushed my saddle and blanket to one end. This did not occupy many minutes, and now I had to break down and collect firewood to last me during the night. When all was done I felt terribly hungry, the little bit of food I had brought with me I had eaten early in the day, and the fact that I had not a morsel left increased my longing for it. Fortunately I had a supply of tobacco and a box of ...
— Five Years in New Zealand - 1859 to 1864 • Robert B. Booth

... does not come up to even a sixteenth part of thyself, O Dhananjaya, confessing thy own faults, why dost thou not feel shame? I can rend asunder this earth in rage, or split the very mountains in whirling that terrible and heavy mace of mine, decked with gold. Like the tempest, I can break down gigantic trees looking like hills. I can, with my arrows, rout the united celestials with Indra at their head, together with all the Rakshasas, O Partha, and the Asuras, the Uragas and human beings. Knowing me, thy brother, to be such, O bull among men, it behoveth thee not, O thou of ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 2 • Kisari Mohan Ganguli

... bring him back, till our eyes ached with gazing on the shining water: indeed, Ursula says we must not do it again, or we might bring on blindness, which would be very dreadful. If it were not for Oliver I think we should break down altogether, but he has such a calm, pious, hopeful spirit. He assures me, and I know he speaks the truth, that he yet hopes that Walter will return, or, at all events, that he has not lost his life, and that we may find him some day or other. He has persuaded our uncle to let him read the Bible ...
— In the Eastern Seas • W.H.G. Kingston

... I wasn't likely to break down—not much—whatever the jury did or the judge said. All the same, after an hour had passed, and we still waiting there, it began to be a sickening kind of feeling. The day had been all taken up ...
— Robbery Under Arms • Thomas Alexander Browne, AKA Rolf Boldrewood

... remarks in language brutally frank, though not wholly elegant: "We will lick him first and then decide who is right." In 1770 King George III, who fretted at all seasons at the slowness with which he was able to break down the ascendency of the Whigs, manipulated the Government so as to make Lord North Prime Minister. Lord North was a servant, one might say a lackey, after the King's own heart. He abandoned lifelong traditions, principles, fleeting whims, prejudices ...
— George Washington • William Roscoe Thayer

... exist, all that I have told you in the last three or four lectures must be incorrect, because I have been attempting to prove that they do exist, and I take it that there is abundant evidence that they do exist; so far, therefore, the hypothesis does not break down. ...
— Lectures and Essays • T.H. Huxley

... lady given to weeping, but she did here break down and cry. Her long-cherished dream come true! She had no money, but that did not trouble her: there was always a way of doing when one was willing to ...
— Weighed and Wanting • George MacDonald

... absolute solution of the problem he had set himself. He had, indeed, evolved several ways by which the contents of the safes might be reached, some simple and desperate, hanging on the razor-edge of chance to fall this way or that; others more elaborate, safer on the whole, but more liable to break down at some point of their ingenious intricacy. And setting aside complicity on the part of the manager—a condition that Carrados had satisfied himself did not exist—they all depended on a relaxation of the forms by which security was assured. ...
— Four Max Carrados Detective Stories • Ernest Bramah

... our purpose." This brings us, indeed, to the crucial point of our investigation, for, as we can gain so little information from external sources, we are perforce driven to the Christian writings themselves. If they break down under criticism as completely as the external evidences have done, then Christianity becomes hopelessly discredited as to its historical basis, and must simply take rank with the other mythologies of the world. But before we can accept the writings as historical, ...
— The Freethinker's Text Book, Part II. - Christianity: Its Evidences, Its Origin, Its Morality, Its History • Annie Besant

... lines. The necessary result was chaos. As Mr. J. H. Round observes, "The genius of the Anglo-Saxon system was ill adapted, or rather wholly unsuitable, to urban life ... while of unconquerable persistence and strength in small manageable rural communities, it was bound to, and did, break down when applied to large and growing towns, whose life lay not in agriculture, but in trade. In a parish, in a hundred, the Englishman was at home, but in a town, and still more in such a town as London, he found himself at his wits' end." But the practical spirit, ...
— The Customs of Old England • F. J. Snell

... injurious and destructive agencies to which maize and other cultivated plants were subject. Birds and quadrupeds pull up the sprouting seed and pull down and devour the ripening grain; worms gnaw the roots and winds break down the stalks, one out of four escaping injury and giving full return to the planter. The latter is therefore probably the correct interpretation, the only difficult feature being the presence of the Earth god, which agrees better with ...
— Day Symbols of the Maya Year • Cyrus Thomas

... God, since you will have it, Since you will drive me to my last resort, Break down my walls, and hound me to the forest, This is the truth! Out of my gates! Ho, help! A Robin Hood! ...
— Collected Poems - Volume Two (of 2) • Alfred Noyes

... inclined to rush back to the house and fall on his knees before his father, and kiss the old man's hands, and beg the old man's blessing. But though he was potent for much he was not potent for that. Such expression of tenderness would have been true; but he knew that he would so break down in the attempt as to make it seem ...
— John Caldigate • Anthony Trollope

... bells in the forenoon watch I heard a tremendous racket in the cabin, and I went below. Captain Sullendine was doing his best to break down the door of his stateroom, cursing hard enough to make the blood of a Christian run cold. But he had nothing to work with, and I let him kick and pound till he got tired of it. I put Vogel in the cabin to keep watch of him, and ...
— A Victorious Union - SERIES: The Blue and the Gray—Afloat • Oliver Optic

... her statement, that a tragedy had shadowed her young life and altered her existence, this did not prevent her from having been seduced by Captain Brocq! Rather, her early experiences would tend to break down the barriers, behind which nice girls lived and moved!... There were things that called for an explanation! For instance, how explain the intimacy existing between de Naarboveck, his so-called daughter, and this Mademoiselle Berthe, whose ...
— A Nest of Spies • Pierre Souvestre

... fitted, compel, compelled. This rule, like the other, is retained by the later editors, though both rules are more exactly framed. No question has been raised upon this point, and the nice correspondence of the two rules is likely in process of time to break down those exceptions to the former which ...
— Noah Webster - American Men of Letters • Horace E. Scudder

... fairly deal with a chapter of history—is perfectly right. The prevailing strain of the story is the strength of weakness—ex dulci fortitude, to invert the old enigma. "O God, O my God, hear me also, a widow. Break down their stateliness by the hand of a woman!" It is the refrain that runs through the whole history of Israel, that reasonable complacency of a little people in their God-fraught destiny. And, withal, a streak of savage spite: that the audacious oppressor shall be done scornfully to death. There ...
— Earthwork Out Of Tuscany • Maurice Hewlett

... the complex organism called Man. These Fiery Lives on our plane correspond, in this controlling and organising function, with the One Life of the Universe,[7] and when they no longer exercise this function in the human body, the lower lives run rampant, and begin to break down the hitherto definitely organised body. During bodily life they are marshalled as an army; marching in regular order under the command of a general, performing various evolutions, keeping step, moving as a single body. At "Death" they become a disorganised and tumultuous mob, rushing ...
— Death—and After? • Annie Besant

... it is probable that trade has produced more bloodshed than any other form of human activity. At the same time there can be no doubt that on the whole its influence has been strongly on the side of unity and that it has done more to break down international barriers than any other influence that has operated in the course of history. The trader, as such, believes entirely and whole-heartedly in the unity of mankind. All that he wants to do is to buy his products as cheaply as he can and to sell them ...
— The Unity of Civilization • Various

... enter the place, however, and in a few minutes the street was full of people, all yelling for his capture. He barred the doors and windows, but they began to break down the shutters ...
— Tales from Dickens • Charles Dickens and Hallie Erminie Rives

... trembled. I thought she was going to break down, but in a moment she was composed again, saying in the ...
— The Heart of Una Sackville • Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey

... strengthened his own and the people's determination to be finally victorious. The untrained, self-willed, passionate frontier soldier came to power in 1828 as the standard bearer of a mighty democratic uprising which was destined before it ran its course to break down oligarchical party organizations, to liberalize state and local governments, and to turn the stream of national politics into wholly new channels. It was futile for men of the old school to protest and to prophesy misfortune for the country ...
— The Reign of Andrew Jackson • Frederic Austin Ogg

... so-called "Holy Alliance" between the rulers of Europe, whose object was to prevent popular movements from disturbing the neat and orderly peace which they had created. The system created by the Congress of Vienna began to break down in 1848. Since then the warlike nationalist and democratic movements in Europe, followed by the tremendous economic growth of the European nations, have made it almost impossible to secure any stable balance of power, though a more or less successful attempt ...
— The War and Democracy • R.W. Seton-Watson, J. Dover Wilson, Alfred E. Zimmern,

... way; make engagements incompatible with the old; take a public pledge, if the case allows; in short, envelop your resolution with every aid you know. This will give your new beginning such a momentum that the temptation to break down will not occur as soon as it otherwise might; and every day during which a breakdown is postponed adds to the chances of its not occurring at all. "The second maxim is: NEVER SUFFER AN EXCEPTION TO OCCUR TILL THE NEW HABIT IS SECURELY ROOTED IN YOUR LIFE. Each lapse is like the letting ...
— Problems of Conduct • Durant Drake

... The buffalo will not dash themselves against a barrier which is entirely closed, even though it be very frail; but if they can see through it to the outside, they will rush against it, and their great weight and strength make it easy for them to break down any but a heavy wall. Mr. Hugh Monroe tells me that he has seen a pis'kun built of willow brush; and the Cheyennes have stated to me that their buffalo corrals were often built of brush. Sometimes, if the walls of the pis'kun were not high, the buffalo tried to jump or climb over them, and, in doing ...
— Blackfoot Lodge Tales • George Bird Grinnell

... housekeeping takes very little time, for the cheapness of native servants obviates the necessity of all labor but that of supervision. There is nowhere to go, nothing to do, nothing to read, nothing to talk about. She has nothing to do but to lie in a steamer chair and to think of home. Most women break down under it very quickly; they lose appetite and flesh and grow fretful or melancholy. But to a woman who loves her home and is employed, provincial life here is a boon. Remember that for an expenditure of forty ...
— A Woman's Impression of the Philippines • Mary Helen Fee

... some that break down all the other men that work with 'em. They either die, or go crazy, or have to quit, and are no use the rest of their lives. The last's my case, I ...
— The Turmoil - A Novel • Booth Tarkington

... ma'am; sometimes the Indians break down the dam, and let off the water, and then they kill them all except a dozen of the females and half a dozen males; after which they stop up the dam again, that the animals may breed and increase; sometimes, when the beaver lake ...
— The Settlers in Canada • Frederick Marryat

... are we?" exclaimed Lambert, changing the subject. "Halloo! The others are way ahead of us—all but Jacob. Whew! How fat he is! He'll break down before we're halfway." ...
— Hans Brinker - or The Silver Skates • Mary Mapes Dodge

... {ant. 161} destruction; waste, dissolution, breaking up; diruption^, disruption; consumption; disorganization. fall, downfall, devastation, ruin, perdition, crash; eboulement [Fr.], smash, havoc, delabrement [Fr.], debacle; break down, break up, fall apart; prostration; desolation, bouleversement [Fr.], wreck, wrack, shipwreck, cataclysm; washout. extinction, annihilation; destruction of life &c 361; knock-down blow; doom, crack of doom. destroying &c v.; demolition, ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... and despair, casts no tender look at the loving piety that underlay shrines and woman-worship and bead-counting wherever a true heart sought its God through the sole formulas it knew, but spurs forward to the end, a mighty power to destroy, to do away with old corruptions and break down idols on their altars,—saint and iconoclast! Did the heart of stone within him know its ancestry,—track its hard, loveless descent from ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 32, June, 1860 • Various

... see, this passage contains direct evidence that in the second century in Hellas—in contradistinction to Rome—there was an attempt to break down the belief in the gods. By his "we" Polybius evidently referred especially to the leading political circles. He knew these circles from personal experience, and his testimony has all the more weight because he does not come forward in the role of the orthodox man complaining in ...
— Atheism in Pagan Antiquity • A. B. Drachmann

... their palm oil or kernels, and take back the goods for which they had bartered them. In this way she helped to open up the country. It was not, perhaps, mission work in the ordinary sense any more than much of Dr. Livingstone's work was missionary work, but it was an effort to break down the conditions that perpetuated wrong and dispeace, and to introduce the forces of righteousness and goodwill. In all this work she had the sympathy of the traders, who showed her much kindness. She was a missionary after their ...
— Mary Slessor of Calabar: Pioneer Missionary • W. P. Livingstone

... go home to-morrow. We can make the journey in short stages. Do not break down now, Cornelia. It is ...
— The Maid of Maiden Lane • Amelia E. Barr

... shoulder, "it is the only way. We have coaxed, argued, reasoned, we have shown him actual cases where the laws have worked great injustice to women. He is blind in his own conceit, and cannot be moved. This is the only way—we can break his power by ridicule—you can do it, Pearl. You can break down a wall of prejudice tonight that would take long years to wear away. Think of cases you know, Pearl, and strike hard. Better to hurt one, and save many! This is a play—but a deadly serious one! I must go now and make the ...
— Purple Springs • Nellie L. McClung

... sand-plains, rolling sandhills, steep sand-ridges, mallee scrubs, desert-gum forests, and dense thickets of mulga. The last were most unpleasant to travel through; for as we wound our way, one walking ahead to break down the branches, the other leading the camels, and Tommy following behind, every now and again the water-camel banged his precious load against a tree; and we walked with the constant risk of a dead branch ripping the canvas and letting out ...
— Spinifex and Sand - Five Years' Pioneering and Exploration in Western Australia • David W Carnegie

... agreed to begin our assault at the hole where the bones and feathers had been brought out; and while Addison and I went to block up the entrance to the other two holes with stones, the Old Squire threw off his coat, and seizing the crowbar, commenced to break down the rooty ground over the hole, while Thomas and Halse cleared it away with their shovels. We worked by turns, or all together, as opportunity offered. It was no light task for a warm June afternoon, and we were soon perspiring freely. Gradually we ...
— When Life Was Young - At the Old Farm in Maine • C. A. Stephens

... his automobile break down in the middle of the road, and Prudence can run into it. The carbureter came off, and of course the car wouldn't run ...
— Prudence of the Parsonage • Ethel Hueston

... shall at the least amuse them. But as you carefully drive an unsound horse, walking him at first starting, not trotting him down hill, making play at parts of the road which suit him; so you must manage many men, or they will break down or bolt out of the path. Above all, so you must manage your own mind, whose weaknesses and wrong impulses you know best, if you would keep it cheerful, and keep it in working order. The showy, unsound ...
— The Recreations of A Country Parson • A. K. H. Boyd

... her. Helvetius, much inconvenienced, and knowing besides the condition of the Princess, did not wish to go, but the King expressly commanded him. He set out then in a postchaise, followed by another in case his own should break down, and arrived thus at Madrid on the 11th of February, 1714. As soon as he had seen the Queen, he said there was nothing but a miracle could save her. The King of Spain did not discontinue sleeping with her until the 9th. On the 14th she died, with much courage, consciousness, ...
— The Memoirs of Louis XIV., His Court and The Regency, Complete • Duc de Saint-Simon

... against the oak panels dominates all others. Through my broken wicket, I hear the voice of the Commandant ordering the soldiers to fire on any prisoner leaving his cell, and to the warders to manacle all those who are attempting to break down their doors. ...
— The Idler Magazine, Volume III., July 1893 - An Illustrated Monthly • Various

... understand that not temporal matters only, but also religious and ecclesiastical causes, pertain to his office: besides also that God by His prophets often and earnestly commandeth the king to cut down the groves, to break down the images and altars of idols, and to write out the book of the law for himself: and besides that the prophet Isaiah saith, "A king ought to be a patron and a nurse of the Church:" I say, besides ...
— The Apology of the Church of England • John Jewel

... feelings, or that his choice should have fallen upon a girl so utterly unlike him, was not quite clear. But most of all she evidently strove to soften Nejdanov, to arouse his confidence towards her, to break down his shyness; she even went so far as to reproach him a little for having a false idea ...
— Virgin Soil • Ivan S. Turgenev

... you, my dear new Mamita, that I don't know what to say. But it tears my heart in two to leave Rosa. We have never been separated for a day since I was born. And she is so good, and she loves me so! And Tulee, too. I didn't dare to try to speak to her. I knew I should break down. All the way coming here I was frightened for fear Gerald would overtake me and carry me off. And I cried so, thinking about Rosa and Tulee, not knowing when I should see them again, that I couldn't see; and if Thistle hadn't known the way himself, I shouldn't have ...
— A Romance of the Republic • Lydia Maria Francis Child

... reject at once her appeal and offer. Instead of that—instead of coldness and haughty independence—they saw her, they heard her, suddenly give a shuddering, sobbing sigh, and then, dropping her face into her hands, break down utterly in a paroxysm of tears,—not tears of anger, of violence of any kind, but tears that, like the shuddering, sobbing sigh, seemed to come from a sore heart after ...
— A Flock of Girls and Boys • Nora Perry

... dull of comprehension, John Wayland," she said, a bit pertly, "or else you understand me less than any man I ever knew. If I seem brave and light of heart amidst all this horror, 't is merely that I may not utterly break down, and become an object of contempt. I feel, Monsieur, I am not devoid of heart nor of the finer qualities of womanhood. Prefer to remain here? Holy Mother of Christ! It would be my choice to die out yonder on the prairie, rather ...
— When Wilderness Was King - A Tale of the Illinois Country • Randall Parrish

... he,—"if every bridge break down beneath you, and no road of escape be left, why, then, I believe you must have recourse to another alternative. Still I should wish to avoid it, if possible, and I put it to you, in honor, not to employ it unless as a last expedient. You ...
— Charles O'Malley, The Irish Dragoon, Volume 1 (of 2) • Charles Lever

... imposes on the world and on self as being strong-minded and gifted with Will. It is the imperturbable cool being, always self-possessed, with little sympathy for emotion. In most cases such minds result from artificial training, and they break down in real trials. I do not say that they cannot weather a storm or a duel, or stand fire, or get through what novelists regard as superlative stage trials; but, in a moral crisis, the gentleman or lady whose face is all Corinthian brass is apt like that brass in a fire to ...
— The Mystic Will • Charles Godfrey Leland

... me that so zealous a man—though he is already beginning to break down under his heavy duties—should be so late. However, he here spends his evenings and nights in special occupations, which must of course be far from beneficial to the health and peace of mind ...
— Uarda • Georg Ebers

... more freely," went on the man. "Try to open your mind to me. There are things which you dislike in me; I know it. Just what those things are I cannot tell, but we must break down these foolish little barriers which are appearing more and more every day. Not that I mean to intrude myself on you every moment of your life. You understand ...
— Ronicky Doone • Max Brand

... the Spaniards must blush for them and revolt from them; or, what would be ten thousand times more deplorable, they must purchase a reconcilement and a communion by a sacrifice of all that is excellent in themselves. Spain must either break down her lofty spirit, her animation and fiery courage, to run side by side in the same trammels with Great Britain; or she must start off from her intended yoke-fellow with contempt and aversion. This is the alternative, and ...
— The Prose Works of William Wordsworth • William Wordsworth

... Shakespeare was, who broke into puns and practical jokes in the darkest passion of his tragedies, if they had only heard those boys in France and Flanders who called out "Early Doors!" themselves in a theatrical memory, as they went so early in their youth to break down the doors ...
— A Short History of England • G. K. Chesterton

... Kitty, laughing. 'I know the Bible better than you, and if I break down I will ask father.' And as if to emphasise her intention, she hit her ball, which was close under the cushion, as ...
— Celibates • George Moore

... of the Edinburgh grandees and deliver a Latin oration as a prelude to receiving the medal. Although I have little fear that an oration will be forthcoming of the ordinary length and quality, I doubt that the trepidation of so unusual a position will cause me to break down in the delivery of it; but we shall see. The reference of this subject to the clothes you will at once discern. The trousers are too tight, and an addition must be made to their length. The coat is too wide in the body, too short and tight in the sleeves, and too spare in the skirt. ...
— Principal Cairns • John Cairns

... I believe?" The Elder nodded his head, but continued eating. "My business isn't pleasant, I fear, but it needn't take long. I'm sent by General Custer to draw the boundary line between the State of Kansas and the Indian Reserve, to break down all fences erected by citizens of the United States in the Territory, and to destroy such crops as they may have planted there. I regret to say our surveyor tells me the boundary line here is Cottonwood Creek, and I must notify ...
— Elder Conklin and Other Stories • Frank Harris

... of his well-known and commanding voice, seemed to have been like the taste of blood to the infuriated multitude outside. Hitherto they had been voiceless, wordless, needing all their breath for their hard-labouring efforts to break down the gates. But now, hearing him speak inside, they set up such a fierce unearthly groan, that even Mrs. Thornton was white with fear as she preceded him into the room. He came in a little flushed, but his eyes gleaming, as in answer to the trumpet-call of danger, and with a proud look of defiance ...
— North and South • Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

... On the river bank he lay beside Hugh in silence. The two got into Hugh's boat and went fishing and the merchant's son grew animated and talked. He taught Hugh to write his own name and to read a few words. The shyness that kept them apart had begun to break down, when the merchant's son caught some childhood ...
— Poor White • Sherwood Anderson

... use of the teeth is twofold. 1st. By the action of the incisors the food is divided, while the molars grind or break down the more solid portions of it. By these processes, the food is prepared to pass more easily and rapidly into ...
— A Treatise on Anatomy, Physiology, and Hygiene (Revised Edition) • Calvin Cutter

... Ah, ten thousand devils, she begin. She grow fat. One night I send a knife through the skin of her arm. I cannot go on with the act. I must stop. I break down and weep. For I love her so much the blood that comes from her arm drive me crazy. But I say, 'How did the great Salvini make such a mistake? It is incredible.' Then I look at her and I see something. She is getting fat. Name of God, I shudder. I say, 'Lucia, we are ruined. You get fat. ...
— A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago • Ben Hecht

... cross over to the bottom of the wall while the attention of the garrison was diverted from them; so that while those above them were attacking one another with darts and stones, those who crossed over on the drawbridges might be able without interruption to break down a portion of the wall ...
— The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus • Ammianus Marcellinus

... moon herself in various rank assigns The days for labour lucky: fly the fifth; Then sprang pale Orcus and the Eumenides; Earth then in awful labour brought to light Coeus, Iapetus, and Typhoeus fell, And those sworn brethren banded to break down The gates of heaven; thrice, sooth to say, they strove Ossa on Pelion's top to heave and heap, Aye, and on Ossa to up-roll amain Leafy Olympus; thrice with thunderbolt Their mountain-stair the Sire asunder smote. ...
— The Georgics • Virgil

... was to break down the prejudice between the fighting units and the Staff. "We want them to know that we are all working together, for the same purpose and with the same zeal. They cannot do without us, as we cannot do ...
— Now It Can Be Told • Philip Gibbs

... treat the whole affair lightly and made no further allusion to her adventure, asking no questions about it. He was afraid lest she should break down in the sudden relief from the strain and anxiety. But there was no cause to fear it. The girl was quietly brave and imitated his air of unconcern, behaving after the first moment as if they were meeting under the most ordinary circumstances. She smiled, though somewhat ...
— The Elephant God • Gordon Casserly

... to one degree or another. Another word for this is toxic. If these toxins were allowed to remain and accumulate in the body, it would poison itself and die in agony. So the body has a processing system to eliminate toxins. And when that system does break down the body does die in agony, as from liver ...
— How and When to Be Your Own Doctor • Dr. Isabelle A. Moser with Steve Solomon

... move no farther,—unhitch them, cut the traces, and the horses will carry us off. Make them go as fast as possible, and if they break down—then let them go? If we were not the stronger our turn would come to be crushed—we should cry out and everybody would mock at our complaints. Save himself who can—and ...
— Waterloo - A sequel to The Conscript of 1813 • Emile Erckmann

... franc. He was going home to Angouleme. At the end of the first day's tramp he slept in a cowshed, two leagues from Arpajon. He had come no farther than Orleans before he was very weary, and almost ready to break down, but there he found a boatman willing to bring him as far as Tours for three francs, and food during the journey cost him but forty sous. Five days of walking brought him from Tours to Poitiers, and left him with but five francs in his pockets, but he summoned up all his remaining strength ...
— Eve and David • Honore de Balzac

... give way, Jeanne," Harry said, when she recovered herself a little. "You know how much I trust to your advice; if you were to break down I should lose heart. Do not think of Marie's letter as a good-bye. I have not lost hope yet, by a long way. Why, we have done wonders already in managing to get a letter in to her and to have her reply. I consider half the difficulty is over now we ...
— In the Reign of Terror - The Adventures of a Westminster Boy • G. A. Henty

... the car came the sudden noise of hammering. Some one had found a sledge in the baggage-room and with a dozen armed men back of him was trying to break down the door. ...
— A Man Four-Square • William MacLeod Raine



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