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We have the phrase "chop or cut down the tree" which means "​to make the tree fall down by cutting it at the base"

Now it was raining very hard and the wind cut the tree down as shown in the above picture.

Can we say "the tree broke down while it was raining cats and dogs"?

I found this in the dictionary

break (something) down or break down (something) : to use force to push (something) to the ground

break a door down

break down a barrier

But I am not sure if "break down the barrier" means the barrier got broken at its base/ foot.

  • @MichaelHarvey, "blew the tree down" or "blew at tree down"? is that a typo?
    – Tom
    Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 17:53
  • 1
    We might say the wind blew a tree down, but not that it broke it down. Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 18:01
  • 4
    We wouldn't normally use a humorous expression like 'raining cats and dogs' of weather that was severe enough to be destructive. The tree was brought down in the storm or blown down by the gale. Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 18:09
  • It can 'rain cats and dogs' (and often does) when no wind is blowing, at least where I live. It is a jocular and informal expression, as is 'raining stair-rods' (do people say that any more?). Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 19:40
  • Then said Ibotíty, “The wind it is which is strong; for the wind broke the tree, and the tree broke the leg of Ibotíty.”
    – ermanen
    Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 20:13

1 Answer 1


"Cut" implies both human intent and the use of tools; any literal version of 'cutting down a tree would involve a person using an axe or saw.

"Broke down" is an idiom referring to a machine that fails; if your car stopped working and you were stuck on the side of the road, we'd say your car broke down.

In this instance, we might say that the tree was knocked down by the wind. If it were in the news, a newspaper might write that the tree was uprooted (though that would mean pulled out of the ground, not snapped as depicted here) or felled.

  • "he was knocked down" means his whole body fell to the ground but his legs or feet wouldn't get cut off from his body. In my situation, only 80% of the tree fell down and 20% of the tree including its root was still not fallen.
    – Tom
    Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 17:51
  • "Uproot" is also not right because the root of the tree was still in the ground. The root was not pulled out of the ground
    – Tom
    Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 17:55
  • @Tom a tree like this could be described as "knocked down" since most of it is on the ground. It also might be "blown down"
    – Esther
    Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 20:22

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