1. a simple past tense of break.
  2. Nonstandard. a past participle of break.
  3. Archaic. a past participle of break.


  1. without money; penniless.
  2. bankrupt.


  1. Papermaking. paper unfit for sale; paper that is to be repulped.
  2. brokes, wool of poor quality taken from the neck and belly of sheep.
  1. go broke,
    1. to become destitute of money or possessions.
    2. to go bankrupt: In that business people are forever going broke.
  2. go for broke, to exert oneself or employ one’s resources to the utmost.


  1. the past tense of break


  1. informal having no money; bankrupt
  2. go for broke slang to risk everything in a gambling or other venture

past tense and obsolete past participle of break (v.); extension to “insolvent” is first recorded 1716 (broken in this sense is attested from 1590s). Old English cognate broc meant, in addition to “that which breaks,” “affliction, misery.”

see flat broke; go broke; go for (broke); if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Also see under break.

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