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To use physical force to separate or damage a solid object.

When used in criminal statutes as an element of Burglary or housebreaking, to forcibly remove any part of a house that protects it from unauthorized entry such as locks, latches, windows, or doors, to gain access to the house with the intent to commit a crime; to use force or violence in escaping from a house after a felony has been committed or attempted therein.

The slightest physical force—for example, lifting a latch, releasing a bolt, or opening an unlocked door or window—is enough to constitute breaking.

See: division, infraction

BREAKING. Parting or dividing by force and violence a solid substance, or piercing, penetrating, or bursting through the same.
     2. In cases of burglary and house-breaking, the removal, of any part of the house, or of the fastenings provided to secure it, with violence and a felonious intent, is called a breaking.
     3. The breaking is actual, as in the above case; or constructive, as when the burglar or house-breaker gains an entry by fraud, conspiracy or threats. 2 Russ. on Cr. 2; 2 Chit. Cr. Law, 1092; 1 Hale, P. C. 553; Alis. Prin. 282, 291. In England it has been decided that if the sash of a window be partly open, but not sufficiently so to admit a person, the raising of it so as to admit a person is not a breaking of the house. 1 Moody, Cr. Cas. 178. No reasons are assigned. It is difficult to conceive, if this case be law, what further opening will amount to a breaking. But see 1 Moody, Cr. Cas. 327, 377; and Burglary.