break·​away | \ ˈbrā-kə-ˌwā How to pronounce breakaway (audio) \

Definition of breakaway

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : one that breaks away
b : a departure from or rejection of something (such as a group or tradition)
2a : a play (as in hockey) in which an offensive player breaks free of the defenders and rushes toward the goal
b : a sudden acceleration by one or more bicyclists pulling away from the pack in a race
3 : an object made to shatter or collapse under pressure or impact



Definition of breakaway (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : favoring independence from an affiliation : seceding a breakaway faction formed a new party
2 : made to break, shatter, or bend easily breakaway road signs for highway safety
3a : of, relating to, or resulting from a breakaway a breakaway goal
b : allowing or having an ability to execute a breakaway breakaway speed

break away

broke away; broken away; breaking away; breaks away

Definition of break away (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to detach oneself especially from a group : get away
2 : to depart from former or accustomed ways
3 : to pull away with a burst of speed

Examples of breakaway in a Sentence


A breakaway faction formed a new party.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Tobin Heath was launched up the right side on a breakaway and sent a low centering pass into the box for Sam Mewis. Kevin Baxter,, "Women’s World Cup recap: U.S. beats France 2-1 on two Megan Rapinoe goals," 28 June 2019 Mr Imamoglu forged a coalition that included his secular Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kurdish voters, a breakaway nationalist group and some Islamists. The Economist, "Turkey’s president fails to see off his most powerful rival yet," 28 June 2019 The game was scoreless until the 83rd minute when New York's Matthias Jorgensen scored on a breakaway. Courier Journal, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville City FC shut out in loss at New York Red Bulls II," 16 June 2019 One of those theater lovers now leads the breakaway group. Bob Shaw, Twin Cities, "Off-stage drama: Volunteer mutiny sparks new Woodbury theater group," 3 June 2019 Tendeck stops Alex Overhardt's shorthanded breakaway. Dylan Bumbarger,, "Giants 4, Winterhawks 2," 15 Feb. 2018 With just under two minutes left in the frame, MacKinnon got in on the scoring, converting a half-ice breakaway for his second goal of the 2018 playoffs. Michael Blinn,, "Stanley Cup Playoffs Roundup: Avalanche Use Quick Start to Topple Predators in Game 3 Win," 17 Apr. 2018 Darren Helm was unable to convert a clean breakaway early in the second, and Martin Frk had an open net on a third-period rebound, but the puck went wide. USA TODAY, "Red Wings beat Sharks 2-1 in shootout," 31 Jan. 2018 These include another referendum to revoke the exit altogether, a general election or a sudden breakaway from the EU. ... Jason Douglas, WSJ, "May’s Brexit Deal Is Rejected for a Third Time by Lawmakers," 29 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Rumours swirl that Abdullah Gul, a former president, and Ahmet Davutoglu, a former prime minister, are considering setting up a breakaway party or parties. The Economist, "Opponents of Turkey’s erratic president should try harder," 29 June 2019 Despite his conciliatory tone, Mr. Erdogan faces challenges from within his own ranks, according to AKP officials, with several leaders considering leaving the party to create a breakaway movement. David Gauthier-villars, WSJ, "Istanbul Mayor Won by Sidestepping Turkey President Erdogan’s Agenda," 26 June 2019 The largest challenge for Mr. Erdogan is a movement led by a former A.K.P. president, Abdullah Gul, and a former finance minister, Ali Babacan, to form a breakaway party. New York Times, "Erdogan Faces Fallout After His Party’s Loss in Istanbul Mayor’s Race," 24 June 2019 Crews will be replacing breakaway cables in the median of the freeway., "Portland metro Tuesday traffic: County offers info meetings on upcoming 11-week Cornelius Pass Rd closure," 4 June 2019 Bates-Diop got going with a breakaway bucket and a couple of 3-pointers before halftime. Bill Landis,, "Ohio State basketball: What Chris Holtmann said about being ranked, recruiting on his radio show," 16 Jan. 2018 His assignments under his new alias included multiple trips to Ukraine and the nearby breakaway region of Transnistria, according to Bellingcat. Ann M. Simmons, WSJ, "Second U.K. Spy-Poisoning Suspect Identified as Russian Military Doctor," 9 Oct. 2018 Russian-Georgian relations have improved since the war, but the issue of the breakaway regions remains, preventing the full normalization of ties. Vladimir Isachenkov, Fox News, "Russia warns of 'horrible' conflict if Georgia joins NATO," 7 Aug. 2018 Turkey, however, insists the exploration infringes on its rights and the rights of breakaway Turkish Cypriots to east Mediterranean hydrocarbon reserves. Menelaos Hadjicostis, The Seattle Times, "Israel: ‘Much safer’ Mediterranean with Cyprus teamwork," 12 Feb. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of breakaway


1881, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1927, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1535, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about breakaway

Statistics for breakaway

Last Updated

5 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for breakaway

The first known use of breakaway was in 1535

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for breakaway



English Language Learners Definition of breakaway

: having become separate from a larger group, country, etc. : having broken away

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on breakaway

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with breakaway

Nglish: Translation of breakaway for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breakaway for Arabic Speakers

Comments on breakaway

What made you want to look up breakaway? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


providing supplementary assistance

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!