- break down
Meaning: stop functioning
Example: His car broke down on the way to California.
Jack Johnson is one of my favorite musicians. Listen to his song, “Breakdown.”
2. break down
Meaning: get upset (intransitive)
Example: She broke down when she heard the terrible news.
3. break something down
Meaning: divide into smaller parts
Example: The test is broken down into a speaking, listening and reading portion. (This sentence is in passive voice). The teacher broke down the test into three parts.