1 [uncountable and countable] the failure of a relationship or system
breakdown of
He moved away after the breakdown of his marriage.
A sudden rise in oil prices could lead to a breakdown of the economy.
breakdown in
There has been a serious breakdown in relations between the two countries.
marriage/marital/family breakdown
Family breakdown can lead to behavioural problems in children.
2 [countable]MI a serious medical condition in which someone becomes mentally ill and is unable to work or deal with ordinary situations in life:
I was worried he might have a breakdown if he carried on working so hard.
Two years ago he suffered a mental breakdown.
She had already had one nervous breakdown.
3 [countable] an occasion when a car or a piece of machinery breaks and stops working:
Always carry a phone with you in case you have a breakdown on the motorway.
breakdown in
a breakdown in the cooling system
4 [countable] a list of all the separate parts of something
breakdown of
Can you give us a breakdown of the figures?
5 [singular] the changing of a substance into other substances:
the breakdown of glucose in the body to release energy

➔ break down

at break1


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