break·​out | \ ˈbrāk-ˌau̇t How to pronounce breakout (audio) \

Definition of breakout

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a violent or forceful break from a restraining condition or situation especially : a military attack to break from encirclement
2 : an eruption or inflammation of the skin Because stress can throw your hormones out of balance, it can make normal sebaceous glands produce oil at an increased rate, causing breakouts.— Harper's Bazaar



Definition of breakout (Entry 2 of 3)

: being or relating to a sudden or smashing success especially in comparison to previous efforts a breakout book

break out

broke out; broken out; breaking out; breaks out

Definition of break out (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to develop or emerge with suddenness or force fire broke out a riot broke out
2a : to become covered break out in a sweat
b : to become affected with an eruption or inflammation of the skin break out in hives his face broke out with acne
3 : to make a break from a restraining condition or situation broke out of a slump broke out of jail

transitive verb

1a : to make ready for action or use break out the tents and make camp
b : to produce for consumption break out a bottle of champagne
2 : to display flying and unfurled
3 : to separate from a mass of data break out newsstand sales

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Synonyms for breakout

Synonyms: Noun

break, bunk [British], escape, flight, getaway, lam, rout, slip

Synonyms: Verb

blaze (up), burst (forth), erupt, explode, flame, flare (up)

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Examples of breakout in a Sentence


the captives had been planning to stage a breakout at the next change in shift for the guards


The company had a breakout year last year, tripling its profits from the previous year.


in the wake of news reports of deaths from the flu, panic broke out, and there was a mad rush for flu shots
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Whoever wins this battle, will have the chance to become the breakout star. Sam Blum |,, "Auburn’s 10 potential breakout athletes for 2019-20," 14 July 2019 In 1982, the character reached movie theaters in a breakout role for Arnold Schwarzenegger. John J. Miller, National Review, "The Fantastic Robert E. Howard," 11 July 2019 Personnel-wise, Boobee Whitlow was a breakout star at running back last season as a redshirt freshman and finished as the team’s leading rusher., "Oregon opponent early scouting report: Auburn," 8 July 2019 In 2010, Boyce had a breakout role as one of Adam Sandler’s children in the comedy film Grown Ups. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Cameron Boyce, Disney Channel star of Descendants, dies at 20," 7 July 2019 Known throughout his breakout minor league season for pitchability and control, Urquidy failed to harness the aforementioned aggression in an abbreviated outing. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros' Jose Urquidy makes most of major league pitching debut," 3 July 2019 Acne Awareness Month might be coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean that our breakouts have ended. Shalwah Evans, Essence, "10 Beauty Items Under $20 That Help You Fight Acne," 27 June 2019 Teens in the midst of acne breakouts may not be too keen on applying sunscreen. Christina Heiser, NBC News, "The best sunscreens for kids, according to dermatologists," 22 June 2019 Meet the dish that will transform you into this summer’s breakout grilling star. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, "Don’t just throw bacon in; make it count with these 5 recipes," 29 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

American Ashley Wagner was a surprise omission from the U.S. figure skating roster after Tennell's breakout performances in Skate America and the national championships. Anchorage Daily News, "Everything you need to know about the Winter Olympics," 8 Feb. 2018 American Ashley Wagner was a surprise omission from the U.S. figure skating roster after Tennell's breakout performances in Skate America and the national championships. The Washington Post,, "Everything you need to know about the Winter Olympics," 7 Feb. 2018 Sparring Partner Next year's breakout Victoria's Secret supermodel, who has a mean right cross. Benjy Hansen-bundy, GQ, "How To Be Better Than Everyone Else In 2018," 7 Feb. 2018 The evening featured a panel presentation and interactive breakout discussion groups aimed to empower singles to share their common experiences and ideas for proactive solutions. Sergio Carmona, Jewish Journal, "South Beach soiree attracts Jewish singles looking for love," 7 Feb. 2018 Johnson said via email, before her breakout weekend. Chadd Cripe, idahostatesman, "U.S. Olympians with ties to Idaho include skier, snowboarders | Idaho Statesman," 6 Feb. 2018 Bartosz Kapustka, a player hyped for his breakout performances for Poland at Euro 2016, failed to play a single Premier League game last season and was loaned to Freiburg for 2017-18., "Extent of Leicester's Poor 2016 Recruitment Made Clear After Last Signings Leave Club," 2 Feb. 2018 Similarly, Haddish’s spirited turn in Girls Trip was one of the breakout performances of 2017. Eliza Berman, Time, "The Biggest Snubs and Surprises of the 2018 Oscar Nominations," 23 Jan. 2018 Camila Mendes is best known for her breakout performance as pithy former mean girl Veronica Lodge on The CW's Riverdale. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Riverdale's Camila Mendes Impersonates the Internet," 18 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The boys' parents weren't home when the fire broke out, according to KXAS-TV (Channel 5). Loyd Brumfield, Dallas News, "2 boys home alone injured in Arlington house fire," 9 July 2019 Last year, when far-right riots broke out on the streets of the eastern city of Chemnitz, the then head of the intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maassen, played down the violence, publicly contradicting Ms. Merkel. Katrin Bennhold, New York Times, "A Political Murder and Far-Right Terrorism: Germany’s New Hateful Reality," 7 July 2019 That's not what happened last week in Portland, Oregon, when clashes broke out between rallies by right-wing groups and counter-protesters. CBS News, "Heavy police presence in Washington for "Demand Free Speech" rally," 6 July 2019 The 21-year-old man was shot just before 2 a.m. when a fight broke out during the drug deal on West 77th Street near Wakefield Avenue, according to a police report. Evan Macdonald,, "Cleveland man shot while trying to buy marijuana in Detroit-Shoreway neighborhood," 5 July 2019 English-speaking fans will no doubt remember earlier Latin-pop booms, as when Ricky Martin and Shakira broke out in the United States in the late ’90s and early 2000s — and were quickly urged to adapt their sounds to American tastes. Mikael Wood,, "Review: J Balvin and Bad Bunny are a Latin-pop dream team on ‘Oasis’," 1 July 2019 That program uses people with credibility on the streets, some of whom have criminal records, to respond when violence breaks out and intervene before people are injured whenever possible. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville Metro Council so worried about murder, it votes to mow grass and sweep streets," 27 June 2019 On a personal note: My Italian grandfather, Michael Loconte, was living and working in the United States when war broke out. Joseph Loconte, National Review, "Mussolini and the End of Liberal Democracy," 25 June 2019 Some of the expensive football equipment destroyed this weekend when a fire broke out at the field house used by Miami Edison High’s football will be replaced by the Miami Dolphins. Omar Kelly,, "Dolphins plan to donate football equipment local high school lost in fire," 24 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'breakout.' 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 breakout


1820, in the meaning defined above


1960, in the meaning defined above


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

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Statistics for breakout

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for breakout

The first known use of breakout was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for breakout



English Language Learners Definition of breakout

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an escape from a prison, jail, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of breakout (Entry 2 of 2)

US : having, causing, or marked by sudden and great success that comes usually after a time without much success


break·​out | \ ˈbrā-ˌkau̇t How to pronounce breakout (audio) \

Medical Definition of breakout

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an eruption or inflammation of the skin This is especially true for those who have acne and are desperate to stop breakouts without taking prescription antibiotics …— Stacie Stukin, The Los Angeles Times, 9 July 2007 Because stress can throw your hormones out of balance, it can make normal sebaceous glands produce oil at an increased rate, causing breakouts.Harper's Bazaar, May 1981

break out

intransitive verb
\ (ˈ)brā-ˈkau̇t How to pronounce break out (audio) \

Medical Definition of break out (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to be affected with a skin eruption and especially one indicative of the presence of a particular disease breaking out with measles
2 of a disease : to manifest itself by skin eruptions
3 : to become covered with break out in a sweat

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More from Merriam-Webster on breakout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with breakout

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for breakout

Nglish: Translation of breakout for Spanish Speakers

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