I was going to start this as a post calling CBD a whiner for bemoaning the fact that his break is half over. But since he’s an overachiever and I am often quite tired I didn’t see a point in flinging monkey poo.
Instead I took a different path when I became fascinated by the etymology of the word “break”. A hat tip, a nod, a wink and a nudge-nudge to those fine Middle Englishmen (the bourgeois?) who gave us breken , the Old Englishmen (of 8 Ball fame) who gave us brecan, and, of course, Hip Hop DJs that gave us a break, too. Their fine work has led us to a significant volume of usage for such an inconspicuous five-letter word.

I have unwittingly used break and all its forms a bit here (1,2) at the fnerd blog and I’m sure it’s as much a part of me as Type A blood — I am Crusher after all. There are dozens of other instances where the word is utilized by your very own on a daily basis but I think my favorites are as follows:

v. tr.

  • To cause to separate into pieces suddenly or violently; smash
  • To crack without separating into pieces
  • To force one’s way out of; escape from: break jail
  • To make known, as news: break a story
  • To surpass or outdo: broke the league’s home-run record
  • To render useless or inoperative: We accidentally broke the radio.
  • To weaken or destroy, as in spirit or health; overwhelm with adversity: “For a hero loves the world till it breaks him” (William Butler Yeats)
  • To cause to be without money or to go into bankruptcy
  • To fail to conform to; violate: break the speed limit


  • The beginning or emergence of something: the break of day
  • An escape: a prison break
  • An interruption or a disruption in continuity or regularity: television programming without commercial breaks
  • A pause or interval, as from work: a coffee break
  • A violation: a security break
  • An often sudden piece of luck, especially good luck: finally got the big break in life
  • An allowance or indulgence; accommodating treatment: The boss gave me a break because I’d been sick
  • A favorable price or reduction: a tax break for charitable contributions
  • Informal. A faux pas

Cool breaks.

  • The space between two paragraphs.
  • A series of three dots ( . . . ) used to indicate an omission in a text.
  • The place where a word is or should be divided at the end of a line.
  • The point at which one register or tonal quality changes to another.
  • A solo jazz cadenza that is played during the pause between the regular phrases or choruses of a melody or that serves as an introduction to a more extended solo.
  • The Amen Break
  • The disruption of one music track to the next.
  • Break dancing; Breakin’ (1984) and especially Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo (1984)

I could go on and on but you get the idea.