from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Not in working order.
  • adj. In poor condition, as from old age; infirm.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. no longer in working order
  • adj. not properly maintained; neglected

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. in deplorable condition
  • adj. not in working order


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • Assuming the situation isn’t immediately fraught with danger that is, your broken-down vehicle is visible to other cars that may be coming from either direction of the track, you’ve probably got time to mull over your options with a nice hot cup of tea.

    Surviving Australia

  • He says: "There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."

    Stephen Hawking: Heaven Is A Myth

  • Bloomberg News The Clam Bar For my daily uniform I like to keep it very casual and comfortable, with a broken-down pair of jeans and Nikes.

    20 Odd Questions: Director Ed Burns

  • That was the total fulfillment of the dream of the little fat girl from Utah, who had sat with her dad on a broken-down couch, basking in the silvery glow of the television in an otherwise empty living room, on that weird little street in that most enchanted of cities—the city where I lived under at least two or three spells before I even got to la-la land.

    Roseanne Archy

  • Slowly, she and Zoe walked over to the broken-down chain-link fence.


  • Left field may be the classic place to stash old, broken-down infielders, but some combination of arm strength and speed are still considered essential to the position.

    In the Time of Bobby Cox

  • And the stadium accommodations themselves were broken-down, threadbare, unpainted and poorly lit by bare light bulbs.

    Terence Clarke: Baseball Dreams

  • In June 1911, Jack London heartily sick of living in makeshift accomodations at Wake Robin, and seeing that the Wolf House would not be completed for at least another two years, made a move that brought him the happiest and richest years of his life; he bought ten acres in the middle of the Kohler vineyards upon which stood an abandoned winery, a broken-down ranch house, and some barns.

    Welcome to Beauty Ranch

  • He was made into a broken-down beast by his masters, the arch-beasts.

    Chapter 6: Adumbrations

  • A Lionsgate executive told Deadline that, "It's an old-fashioned Western specifically designed for a 63-year-old broken-down guy with a moral decision whether Arnold decides to stand up for his town."

    Arnold Schwarzenegger In 'The Last Stand': Western Provides First Post-Scandal Role


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