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break Idioms & Phrases


break apart

  • verb take apart into its constituent pieces
    take apart; dismantle; break apart; disassemble.
  • verb break violently or noisily; smash;
    break apart; crash.
  • verb break up or separate
    disunify.
    • The country is disunifying
    • Yugoslavia broke apart after 1989
WordNet

break away

  • verb move away or escape suddenly
    break; break away.
    • The horses broke from the stable
    • Three inmates broke jail
    • Nobody can break out--this prison is high security
  • verb break off (a piece from a whole)
    break away; chip; chip off; come off.
    • Her tooth chipped
  • verb interrupt a continued activity
    break.
    • She had broken with the traditional patterns
  • verb withdraw from an organization or communion
    splinter; secede.
    • After the break up of the Soviet Union, many republics broke away
  • verb flee; take to one's heels; cut and run
    lam; run; head for the hills; hightail it; bunk; run away; take to the woods; scarper; escape; fly the coop; scat; turn tail.
    • If you see this man, run!
    • The burglars escaped before the police showed up
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break bread

  • verb have a meal, usually with company
    • The early Christian disciples broke bread together
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break camp

  • verb leave a camp
    decamp.
    • The hikers decamped before dawn
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break dance

  • noun a form of solo dancing that involves rapid acrobatic moves in which different parts of the body touch the ground; normally performed to the rhythm of rap music
    break dance.
  • verb do a break dance
    break; break dance.
    • Kids were break-dancing at the street corner
WordNet

break dancing

  • noun a form of solo dancing that involves rapid acrobatic moves in which different parts of the body touch the ground; normally performed to the rhythm of rap music
    break dance.
  • verb do a break dance
    break; break dance.
    • Kids were break-dancing at the street corner
WordNet

break down

  • verb make ineffective
    crush.
    • Martin Luther King tried to break down racial discrimination
  • verb make a mathematical, chemical, or grammatical analysis of; break down into components or essential features
    take apart; dissect; analyze; analyse.
    • analyze a specimen
    • analyze a sentence
    • analyze a chemical compound
  • verb lose control of one's emotions
    snap; lose it.
    • When she heard that she had not passed the exam, she lost it completely
    • When her baby died, she snapped
  • verb stop operating or functioning
    die; give out; give way; break; go; go bad; conk out; fail.
    • The engine finally went
    • 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
  • verb fall apart
    collapse; tumble; crumple; crumble.
    • the building crumbled after the explosion
    • Negotiations broke down
  • verb cause to fall or collapse
  • verb separate (substances) into constituent elements or parts
    break down; decompose.
  • verb collapse due to fatigue, an illness, or a sudden attack
    collapse.
WordNet

break even

  • verb make neither profit nor loss
  • verb attain a level at which there is neither gain nor loss, as in business, gambling, or a competitive sport
WordNet

break in

  • verb enter someone's (virtual or real) property in an unauthorized manner, usually with the intent to steal or commit a violent act
    break.
    • Someone broke in while I was on vacation
    • They broke into my car and stole my radio!
    • who broke into my account last night?
  • verb break into a conversation
    put in; cut in; barge in; butt in; chisel in; chime in.
    • her husband always chimes in, even when he is not involved in the conversation
  • verb start in a certain activity, enterprise, or role
  • verb intrude on uninvited
    • The nosy couple broke in on our conversation
  • verb break so as to fall inward
    • He broke in the door
  • verb make submissive, obedient, or useful
    break.
    • The horse was tough to break
    • I broke in the new intern
WordNet

break into

  • verb express or utter spontaneously
    • break into a yodel
    • break into a song
    • break into tears
  • verb change pace
    • The dancers broke into a cha-cha
    • The horse broke into a gallop
WordNet

break loose

  • verb be unleashed; emerge with violence or noise
    explode; burst forth.
    • His anger exploded
  • verb run away from confinement
    get away; escape.
    • The convicted murderer escaped from a high security prison
WordNet

break of day

  • noun the first light of day
    sunup; daybreak; break of day; dawning; aurora; morning; first light; dayspring; dawn; cockcrow; sunrise.
    • we got up before dawn
    • they talked until morning
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break of serve

  • noun (tennis) a score consisting of winning a game when your opponent was serving
    break.
    • he was up two breaks in the second set
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break of the day

  • noun the first light of day
    sunup; daybreak; break of day; dawning; aurora; morning; first light; dayspring; dawn; cockcrow; sunrise.
    • we got up before dawn
    • they talked until morning
WordNet

break off

  • verb interrupt before its natural or planned end
    break off; cut short.
    • We had to cut short our vacation
  • verb prevent completion
    break; stop; discontinue.
    • stop the project
    • break off the negotiations
  • verb break off (a piece from a whole)
    break away; chip; chip off; come off.
    • Her tooth chipped
  • verb break a piece from a whole
    break; snap off.
    • break a branch from a tree
  • verb break a small piece off from
    knap; cut off; chip.
    • chip the glass
    • chip a tooth
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break one's back

  • verb work very hard, like a slave
    buckle down; knuckle down; slave.
WordNet

break open

  • verb open with force
    • He broke open the picnic basket
  • verb come open suddenly and violently, as if from internal pressure
    split; burst.
    • The bubble burst
  • verb erupt or intensify suddenly
    flare; erupt; flare up; burst out; irrupt.
    • Unrest erupted in the country
    • Tempers flared at the meeting
    • The crowd irrupted into a burst of patriotism
WordNet

break out

  • verb start abruptly
    erupt.
    • After 1989, peace broke out in the former East Bloc
  • verb begin suddenly and sometimes violently
    • He broke out shouting
  • verb move away or escape suddenly
    break; break away.
    • The horses broke from the stable
    • Three inmates broke jail
    • Nobody can break out--this prison is high security
  • verb take from stowage in preparation for use
  • verb become raw or open
    recrudesce; erupt.
    • He broke out in hives
    • My skin breaks out when I eat strawberries
    • Such boils tend to recrudesce
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break seal

  • noun a seal that must be broken when first used and cannot easily be resealed
    • it was stored in a tube with a break seal
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break short

  • verb interrupt before its natural or planned end
    break off; cut short.
    • We had to cut short our vacation
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break someone's heart

  • verb cause deep emotional pain and grief to somebody
    • The young man broke the girl's heart when he told her was going to marry her best friend
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break through

  • verb pass through (a barrier)
    crack.
    • Registrations cracked through the 30,000 mark in the county
  • verb penetrate
    come through.
    • The sun broke through the clouds
    • The rescue team broke through the wall in the mine shaft
  • verb break out
    push through; erupt; come out.
    • The tooth erupted and had to be extracted
WordNet

break up

  • verb to cause to separate and go in different directions
    dispel; scatter; disperse; dissipate.
    • She waved her hand and scattered the crowds
  • verb discontinue an association or relation; go different ways
    break; separate; split up; part; split.
    • The business partners broke over a tax question
    • The couple separated after 25 years of marriage
    • My friend and I split up
  • verb come apart
    • the group broke up
  • verb break violently or noisily; smash;
    break apart; crash.
  • verb make a break in
    interrupt; cut off; disrupt.
    • We interrupt the program for the following messages
  • verb cause to go into a solution
    resolve; dissolve.
    • The recipe says that we should dissolve a cup of sugar in two cups of water
  • verb suffer a nervous breakdown
    crock up; crack up; collapse; crack.
  • verb take apart into its constituent pieces
    take apart; dismantle; break apart; disassemble.
  • verb destroy the completeness of a set of related items
    break.
    • The book dealer would not break the set
  • verb set or keep apart
    sever.
    • sever a relationship
  • verb attack with or as if with a pickaxe of ice or rocky ground, for example
    pick.
    • Pick open the ice
  • verb release ice
    calve.
    • The icebergs and glaciers calve
  • verb close at the end of a session
    adjourn; recess.
    • The court adjourned
  • verb bring the association of to an end or cause to break up
    dissolve.
    • The decree officially dissolved the marriage
    • the judge dissolved the tobacco company
  • verb come to an end
    dissolve.
    • Their marriage dissolved
    • The tobacco monopoly broke up
  • verb break or cause to break into pieces
    fragment; fragmentize; fragmentise.
    • The plate fragmented
  • verb cause to separate
    scatter; disperse.
    • break up kidney stones
    • disperse particles
  • verb separate (substances) into constituent elements or parts
    break down; decompose.
  • verb laugh unrestrainedly
    crack up.
WordNet

break water

  • verb show the fins above the water while swimming
    fin.
    • The sharks were finning near the surface
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break wind

  • verb expel intestinal gases through the anus
    fart.
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break with

  • verb end a relationship
    • China broke with Russia
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break-axe

  • noun West Indian timber tree having very hard wood
    breakaxe; breakax; Sloanea jamaicensis.
WordNet

break-circuit

Break"-cir`cuit noun
Definitions
  1. (Elec.) A key or other device for breaking an electrical circuit.
Webster 1913

break-dance

  • verb do a break dance
    break; break dance.
    • Kids were break-dancing at the street corner
WordNet

break-in

  • noun trespassing for an unlawful purpose; illegal entrance into premises with criminal intent
    housebreaking; break-in.
WordNet

break-up

Break"-up` noun
Definitions
  1. Disruption; a separation and dispersion of the parts or members; as, a break-up of an assembly or dinner party; a break-up of the government.
Webster 1913

breaking and entering

  • noun trespassing for an unlawful purpose; illegal entrance into premises with criminal intent
    housebreaking; break-in.
WordNet

breaking away

  • noun the act of breaking away or withdrawing from
    breakaway.
    • there was a breakaway by the discontented members
    • a breaking away from family and neighborhood
  • noun departing hastily
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breaking ball

  • noun a pitch of a baseball that is thrown with spin so that its path curves as it approaches the batter
    curve ball; curve; bender.
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breaking off

  • noun an instance of sudden interruption
    abruption.
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breaking point

  • noun (psychology) stress at which a person breaks down or a situation becomes crucial
  • noun the degree of tension or stress at which something breaks
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breaking wind

  • noun a reflex that expels intestinal gas through the anus
    fart; flatus; farting; wind.
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broken arch

  • noun an arch with a gap at the apex; the gap is usually filled with some decoration
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broken heart

  • noun devastating sorrow and despair
    • he is recovering from a broken heart
    • a broken heart languishes here
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broken home

  • noun a family in which the parents have separated or divorced
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broken in

  • adjective satellite tamed or trained to obey
    broken.
    • a horse broken to the saddle
    • this old nag is well broken in
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broken wind

  • noun a chronic emphysema of the horse that causes difficult expiration and heaving of the flanks
    heaves.
WordNet
Bro"ken wind`
Definitions
  1. (Far.) The heaves.
Webster 1913

broken-backed

  • adjective satellite having the spine damaged
    • a broken-backed book
    • a broken-backed old horse
  • adjective satellite (of a horse) having bones of the back united by a bony growth
  • adjective satellite (of a ship) so weakened as to sag at each end
    hogged.
WordNet
Bro"ken-backed` adjective
Definitions
  1. Having a broken back; as, a broken-backed chair.
  2. (Naut.) Hogged; so weakened in the frame as to droop at each end; -- said of a ship. Totten.
Webster 1913

broken-bellied

Bro"ken-bel`lied adjective
Definitions
  1. Having a ruptured belly. R.
Webster 1913

broken-down

  • adjective satellite in deplorable condition
    dilapidated; tumble-down; tatterdemalion; ramshackle; derelict; bedraggled.
    • a street of bedraggled tenements
    • a broken-down fence
    • a ramshackle old pier
    • a tumble-down shack
  • adjective satellite not in working order
    • had to push the broken-down car
    • a broken-down tractor fit only for children to play on
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broken-field

  • adjective satellite varying in direction suddenly and frequently
    • broken-field running
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broken-hearted

Bro"ken-heart`ed adjective
Definitions
  1. Having the spirits depressed or crushed by grief or despair.
    She left her husband almost broken-hearted. Macaulay.
    Syn. -- Disconsolable; heart-broken; inconsolable; comfortless; woe-begone; forlorn.
Webster 1913

broken-winded

Bro"ken-wind`ed adjective
Definitions
  1. (Far.) Having short breath or disordered respiration, as a horse.
Webster 1913

coffee break

  • noun a snack taken during a break in the work day
    coffee break.
    • a ten-minute coffee break
    • the British have tea breaks
WordNet

fast break

  • noun (basketball) a rapid dash to get a shot as soon as possible after taking possession of the ball
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fast-breaking

  • adjective satellite occurring rapidly as a series of events in rapid succession
    • the broadcast was interrupted by a fast-breaking news story about the invasion
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go for broke

  • verb risk everything in one big effort
    • the cyclist went for broke at the end of the race
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law-breaking

  • noun (criminal law) an act punishable by law; usually considered an evil act
    offence; criminal offense; crime; offense; criminal offence.
    • a long record of crimes
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pock-broken

Pock"-bro`ken adjective
Definitions
  1. Broken out, or marked, with smallpox; pock-fretten.
Webster 1913

prison-breaking

  • noun an escape from jail
    jailbreak; break; breakout; prisonbreak; gaolbreak.
    • the breakout was carefully planned
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record-breaking

  • adjective satellite surpassing any previously established record
    • a record-breaking high jump
    • record-breaking crowds
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Sabbath breaking

  • the violation of the law of the Sabbath.
Webster 1913

service break

  • noun a tennis game won on the opponent's service
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spring break

  • noun a week or more of recess during the spring term at school
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Stone-break

  • . Cf. G. steinbrech. (Bot.) Any plant of the genus Saxifraga; saxifrage.
Webster 1913

stone-broke

  • adjective satellite lacking funds
    skint; stone-broke; bust; broke.
    • `skint' is a British slang term
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stony-broke

  • adjective satellite lacking funds
    skint; stone-broke; bust; broke.
    • `skint' is a British slang term
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tax break

  • noun a tax deduction that is granted in order to encourage a particular type of commercial activity
    tax benefit.
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tea break

  • noun a snack taken during a break in the work day
    coffee break.
    • a ten-minute coffee break
    • the British have tea breaks
WordNet

To beat, ∨ break, the record

  • (Sporting), to surpass any performance of like kind as authoritatively recorded; as, to break the record in a walking match.
Webster 1913

To bite the ground, To break ground

  • . See under Bite, Break.
Webster 1913

To break (one) all up

  • to unsettle or disconcert completely; to upset. Colloq.
Webster 1913

To break a deerstag

  • to cut it up and apportion the parts among those entitled to a share.
Webster 1913

To break a house

  • (Law), to remove or set aside with violence and a felonious intent any part of a house or of the fastenings provided to secure it.
Webster 1913

To break a jest

  • to utter a jest. "Patroclus . . . the livelong day break scurril jests." Shak.
Webster 1913

To break a lance

  • to engage in a tilt or contest.
Webster 1913

To break a path, road, etc.,

  • to open a way through obstacles by force or labor.
Webster 1913

To break away

  • to disengage one's self abruptly; to come or go away against resistance.
Webster 1913

To break bulk

  • to destroy the entirety of a load by removing a portion of it; to begin to unload; also, to transfer in detail, as from boats to cars.
  • (Naut.), to begin to unload or more the cargo.
Webster 1913

To break cover

  • to burst forth from a protecting concealment, as game when hunted.
  • to start from a covert or lair; said of game.
Webster 1913

To break down

  • . (a) To come down by breaking; as, the coach broke down. (b) To fail in any undertaking.
    He had broken down almost at the outset. Thackeray.
  • . (a) To crush; to overwhelm; as, to break down one's strength; to break down opposition. (b) To remove, or open a way through, by breaking; as, to break down a door or wall.
Webster 1913

To break fast

  • to partake of food after abstinence. See Breakfast.
Webster 1913

To break forth

  • to issue; to come out suddenly, as sound, light, etc. "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning." Isa. lviii. 8; often with into in expressing or giving vent to one's feelings. "Break forth into singing, ye mountains." Isa. xliv. 23.
Webster 1913

To break from

  • to go away from abruptly.
    This radiant from the circling crowd he broke. Dryden.
Webster 1913

To break gates

  • (Eng. Univ.), to enter a college inclosure after the hour to which a student has been restricted.
Webster 1913

To break ground

  • . (a) To open the earth as for planting; to commence excavation, as for building, siege operations, and the like; as, to break ground for a foundation, a canal, or a railroad. (b) Fig.: To begin to execute any plan. (c) (Naut.) To release the anchor from the bottom.
Webster 1913

To break in

  • . (a) To force in; as, to break in a door. (b) To train; to discipline; as, a horse well broken in.
Webster 1913

To break in upon

  • to enter or approach violently or unexpectedly. "This, this is he; softly awhile; let us not break in upon him." Milton.
Webster 1913

To break into

  • to enter by breaking; as, to break into a house.
Webster 1913

To break jail

  • to escape from confinement in jail, usually by forcible means.
Webster 1913

To break joints

  • to lay or arrange bricks, shingles, etc., so that the joints in one course shall not coincide with those in the preceding course.
Webster 1913

To break loose

  • . (a) To extricate one's self forcibly. "Who would not, finding way, break loose from hell?" Milton. (b) To cast off restraint, as of morals or propriety.
Webster 1913

To break no square

  • to give no offense; to make no difference. Obs.
Webster 1913

To break no squares

  • to create no trouble. Obs.
Webster 1913

To break of

  • to rid of; to cause to abandon; as, to break one of a habit.
Webster 1913

To break off

  • . (a) To become separated by rupture, or with suddenness and violence. (b) To desist or cease suddenly. "Nay, forward, old man; do not break off so." Shak.
  • . (a) To separate by breaking; as, to break off a twig. (b) To stop suddenly; to abandon. "Break off thy sins by righteousness." Dan. iv. 27.
Webster 1913

To break off from

  • to desist from; to abandon, as a habit.
Webster 1913

To break one's fast

  • to put an end to a period of abstinence by taking food; especially, to take one's morning meal; to breakfast.
Webster 1913

To break open

  • to open by breaking. "Open the door, or I will break it open." Shak.
Webster 1913

To break out

  • to take or force out by breaking; as, to break out a pane of glass .
  • . (a) To burst forth; to escape from restraint; to appear suddenly, as a fire or an epidemic. "For in the wilderness shall waters break out, and stream in the desert." Isa. xxxv. 6 (b) To show itself in cutaneous eruptions; said of a disease. (c) To have a rash or eruption on the akin; said of a patient.
Webster 1913

To break out a cargo

  • to unstow a cargo, so as to unload it easily.
Webster 1913

To break over

  • to overflow; to go beyond limits.
Webster 1913

To break sheer

  • (Naut.), to deviate from sheer, and risk fouling the anchor.
Webster 1913

To break squares

  • to depart from an accustomed order.
Webster 1913

To break the back

  • . (a) To dislocate the backbone; hence, to disable totally. (b) To get through the worst part of; as, to break the back of a difficult undertaking.
Webster 1913

To break the heart

  • to crush or overwhelm (one) with grief.
Webster 1913

To break the heart of

  • . (a) To bring to despair or hopeless grief; to cause to be utterly cast down by sorrow. (b) To bring almost to completion; to finish very nearly; said of anything undertaken; as, he has broken the heart of the task.
Webster 1913

To break the ice

  • to get through first difficulties; to overcome obstacles and make a beginning; to introduce a subject.
Webster 1913

To break the neck

  • to dislocate the joints of the neck.
Webster 1913

To break the neck of

  • to destroy the main force of. "What they presume to borrow from her sage and virtuous rules... breaks the neck of their own cause." Milton. = break the back of
Webster 1913

To break through

  • . (a) To make an opening through, as, as by violence or the force of gravity; to pass violently through; as, to break through the enemy's lines; to break through the ice. (b) To disregard; as, to break through the ceremony.
Webster 1913

To break up

  • . (a) To separate into parts; to plow (new or fallow ground). "Break up this capon." Shak. "Break up your fallow ground." Jer. iv. 3. (b) To dissolve; to put an end to. "Break up the court." Shak.
  • . (a) To become separated into parts or fragments; as, the ice break up in the rivers; the wreck will break up in the next storm. (b) To disperse. "The company breaks up." I. Watts.
Webster 1913

To break upon

  • to discover itself suddenly to; to dawn upon.
Webster 1913

To break upon a wheel

  • to execute or torture, as a criminal by stretching him upon a wheel, and breaking his limbs with an iron bar; a mode of punishment formerly employed in some countries.
Webster 1913

To break wind

  • to give vent to wind from the anus.
Webster 1913

To break with

  • . (a) To fall out; to sever one's relations with; to part friendship. "It can not be the Volsces dare break with us." Shak. "If she did not intend to marry Clive, she should have broken with him altogether." Thackeray. (b) To come to an explanation; to enter into conference; to speak. Obs. "I will break with her and with her father." Shak.
Webster 1913

to-break

To-break" transitive verb
Etymology
Pref. to- + break.
Definitions
  1. To break completely; to break in pieces. Obs.
    With nose and mouth to-broke. Chaucer.
Webster 1913

wind-break

Wind"-break` transitive verb
Definitions
  1. To break the wind of; to cause to lose breath; to exhaust. R.
    'T would wind-break a mule to vie burdens with her. Ford.
Wind"-break` noun
Definitions
  1. A clump of trees serving for a protection against the force of wind. Local, U. S.
Webster 1913

wind-broken

Wind"-bro`ken adjective
Definitions
  1. Having the power of breathing impaired by the rupture, dilatation, or running together of air cells of the lungs, so that while the inspiration is by one effort, the expiration is by two; affected with pulmonary emphysema or with heaves; -- said of a horse. Youatt.
Webster 1913