Them’s the breaks or brakes

Photo of author


This phrase comes from North America and has several variations. Them’s the breaks or that’s the breaks or them’s da breaks, with the first spelling being the most popular and the last being the least (and also most informal). It is never spelled brakes.

The phrase means that sometimes the outcome to a situation isn’t what one wanted or expected, and most especially, that there isn’t much to be done about it so one might as well accept it and move on.

A common synonym that is also a phrase is that’s the way the cookie crumbles.

The phrase them’s the breaks comes from the game of pool or billiards. When the balls are racked up in formation one player ‘breaks’ or takes the first shot to try and send the balls around the table. The result of this break cannot be changed and the players must make do with what they are given.


Well, them’s the breaks, as it were, for Vince Gilligan, whose co-creation for CBS, “Battle Creek,” wasn’t picked up for a second season. [San Francisco Chronicle]

That Mad Max played 70% male and Pitch Perfect 2 played 75% female is a little disheartening, but them’s the breaks and a hit is a hit is a hit. [Forbes]

As for bond market volatility, Mr Draghi more or less said, that’s the breaks. [The Wall Street Journal]

Unfortunately in supply markets, that’s the way the cookie crumbles. When demand is stagnant, prices are a zero sum game. [Farm Futures]