break the mould

break the mould


  • to do something different from what is expected
  • to break a repeating pattern by doing something different
  • to be new or different
  • to be a pioneer in a new field

Example Sentences

  1. His method of teaching physics breaks the mould.
  2. She broke the mould by being the first person in her family to go to the university.
  3. He has broken the mould with the way he approaches issues in psychology.
  4. As the first female astronaut, she has broken the mould.
  5. The aircraft’s improved leg room in economy class has really broken the mould.


Originally this was used in pottery as it refers to casting artefacts in moulds. By breaking the mould, it means that the particular artefact cannot be replicated or others made to look like it. In the early 1980s, the expression became popular in Great Britain as the foundation of one of its popular political parties which was the Social Democratic Party. Its founders praised the party as being different from the traditional parties. The party was promoted as breaking the ‘out-of-date mould’ of British politics. This phrase was popularised by the famous politician Roy Jenkins, in a speech in 1980.

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