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Brake or Break?
What Is the Difference between "Brake" and "Break"?"Brake" and "break" are easily confused because they sound identical.
- Brake. A "brake" is a device for slowing a moving vehicle. "To brake" is the verb.
(Note: Although rarely used these days, "brake" is also the word for a four-wheeled horse carriage and also a machine for crushing hemp.)
- Break. A "break" most commonly means a period of rest or an interruption of continuity. The verb "to break" usually means to smash or to ruin. (More below)
More about "Brake" and "Break"The words "break" and "brake" are homonyms. This means they sound identical but have different meanings.
BrakeThe word "brake" has three main meanings:
(1) A device for slowing a moving vehicle (typically by adding friction to the wheels).
- You do know that the brake is the pedal in the middle, don't you?
- Please apply the handbrake.
Of course, there is also the associated verb:
- Yes, very clever. It's time to brake now. Errr, now!
BreakThe word "break" has three main meanings:
(1) To separate into pieces (as a result of a block, shock, or pressure).
- Shatterproof ruler? I managed to break it before I'd left the shop!
- If God lived on earth, people would break his windows. (Jewish Proverb)
- That would break my heart.
- Adversity causes some men to break — others to break records. (Writer William Arthur Ward)
There is also the associated noun:
- I can see the break on the x-ray. (This is like the meaning below, i.e., an interruption of continuity.)
(2) A period of rest or an interruption of continuity.
- I need to take a break. (a period of rest)
- There is a break in the pattern. (an interruption of continuity)
(3) To infringe or disobey.
- Please do not break my trust in you.
- It is much easier to break the rules when one's surrounded by strangers. One does not know any of them, so one cannot really care for their opinion. (Author Monica Fairview)
- Men keep agreements when it is to the advantage of neither to break them. (Athenian statesman Solon)
A Video SummaryHere is a short video summarizing the difference between "brake" and "break."
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