Broke the mold

Broke the mold is an idiom that may be older than you think.
An idiom is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom or other parts of speech is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions such as beat around the bush, once in a blue moon, let the cat out of the bag, spill the beans, face the music, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, as they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker. We will examine the meaning of the idiom broke the mold, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Broke the mold is an idiom describing someone’s uniqueness. The image is of a mold being destroyed so that an item may not be duplicated. Usually expressed as they broke the mold when they made him, the second portion when they made him is usually left unspoken. The phrase they broke the mold affirms that there is no one in the world like that person and that no one can compare to that person. The phrase they broke the mold is almost always a term of admiration, the implication is that it is too bad that there are not more people who are like the person. The term they broke the mold may be expressed because of someone’s kindness, intelligence, patience, or any other positive attribute. The expression broke the mold came into use in the 1560s. The English spelling is broke the mould. Related phrases are break the mold, breaks the mold, breaking the mold.


They broke the mold with veteran actor Marcus LaVoi, currently starring in the Netflix horror/thriller, “Chambers,” about a Native American girl in New Mexico who gets a heart transplant — a haunted heart, as it turns out; LaVoi plays her gruff, kindly uncle. (Newsday)

“There’s an old saying, ‘ they broke the mold when they made him,’” noted Hanna Mayor Chris Warwick. (The Hanna Herald)

“He is the definition of ‘they broke the mold,’ in a lot of different ways,” current Byrnes head coach Layne Fowler said. (The Spartenburg Herald Journal)

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