bro·ken / ˈbrōkən/ past participle of break. • adj. 1. having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order: a broken arm. ∎ rejected, defeated, or despairing: he went to his grave a broken man a broken heart. ∎ sick or weakened: broken health. ∎ (of a relationship) ended, typically by betrayal or faithlessness: a broken marriage. ∎ disrupted or divided: broken families. ∎ (of an agreement or promise) not observed by one of the parties involved. 2. having gaps or intervals that break a continuity: a broken white line across the road. ∎ having an uneven and rough surface: broken ground. ∎ (of speech or a language) spoken falteringly and with many mistakes, as by a foreigner: a young man talking in broken Italian. ∎ spoken haltingly, as if overcome by emotion: he whispered in a broken voice. DERIVATIVES: bro·ken·ly adv. bro·ken·ness n.
1. An informal, non-technical term for a foreigner's limited and ungrammatical use of a language: ‘The skipper asked in broken English for his help’ (Observer, 2 Sept. 1990)
2. Also TORRES STRAIT BROKEN. The name given by its speakers to the English-based CREOLE of the Torres Strait islands between Cape York in Australia and Papua New Guinea, known technically as Torres Strait Creole.