adverb or adjective
\ ə-ˈbrest How to pronounce abreast (audio) \

Definition of abreast

1 : beside one another in line columns of men five abreast with seats two abreast on each side of the aisle They drew abreast of [=alongside of] each other.
2 : up to a particular standard or level especially of knowledge of recent developments tries to keep abreast of [=to stay informed about] the news

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Examples of abreast in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Energy Department held calls with representatives from the energy sector Monday to keep them abreast of a federal law-enforcement investigation into what happened, White House deputy national security adviser Anne Neuberger said. David Uberti, WSJ, 10 May 2021 It’s an ongoing process that requires staying abreast of employment laws and legislation, revisiting and updating policies, identifying potential gaps and risks and rolling out changes with clear communication and training. Heidi Lynne Kurter, Forbes, 28 May 2021 But this year, with all of the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, staying abreast of the constantly changing travel rules proved too stressful. Washington Post, 13 May 2021 This line of work, Connors told me with no small amount of pride, requires keeping abreast of current events. Meg Bernhard, The New Yorker, 11 Apr. 2021 But the United States lags well behind many other countries in employing the essential tool for keeping abreast of variants – gene sequencing – increasing the risk that a new variant could spread undetected. David Heath, USA Today, 7 Apr. 2021 It’s four feet wide in each direction, which is just barely enough for two pairs of handlebars abreast. Alissa Walker, Curbed, 7 Apr. 2021 Although the mass e-mails hadn’t come to his in-box, his team had kept him abreast. Hannah Goldfield, The New Yorker, 27 Mar. 2021 From this perspective, staying abreast of current events — like staying in shape — is not an inherently virtuous action. BostonGlobe.com, 24 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abreast.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of abreast

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for abreast

Middle English abrest, from a- a- entry 1 + brest breast entry 1

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Learn More about abreast

Time Traveler for abreast

Time Traveler

The first known use of abreast was in the 15th century

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Statistics for abreast

Last Updated

12 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Abreast.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abreast. Accessed 15 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for abreast


adverb or adjective
\ ə-ˈbrest How to pronounce abreast (audio) \

Kids Definition of abreast

1 : right beside one another The street was only wide enough for four people to walk abreast.— Katherine Paterson, Jacob Have I Loved
2 : up to a certain level of knowledge I try to keep abreast of the news.


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