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

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of breakout in a Sentence

Noun the captives had been planning to stage a breakout at the next change in shift for the guards Adjective The company had a breakout year last year, tripling its profits from the previous year. Verb 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 The company has struggled at times and at least once nearly ran out of cash, but executives are hopeful that its breakout moment is at hand. New York Times, "A Race to Become the Tesla of Delivery Trucks and Vans," 22 Dec. 2020 There are a ton of great documentaries on Hulu right now, from breakout hit Three Identical Strangers to the amazingly ridiculous, stranger than fiction story of Fyre Fraud. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "The Best Hulu Documentaries to Watch Now," 26 Nov. 2020 As seasons came and went, the former All-American speedster out of St. Thomas Aquinas had yet to have his breakout moment in college, despite his best efforts behind the scenes. David Furones,, "UM’s Michael Harley once nearly quit; now, he’s scoring game-winning touchdowns," 7 Nov. 2020 Nearly four years removed from its best electoral performance in history, libertarianism finds itself on familiar terrain: tantalizingly close to a breakout moment that remains forever out of reach. Kevin Mahnken, The New Republic, "The Libertarian Moment That Never Comes," 2 Nov. 2020 Despite just about everything, Mossi Traoré is having a breakout moment. Tina Isaac-goizé, Vogue, "“It’s Not Just Made in France, It’s Made in Banlieue”—Mossi Traoré Is One to Watch in Paris," 14 Oct. 2020 Both teams had nine consecutive losing seasons before this year’s breakout. Evan Grant, Dallas News, "5 storylines for Rangers fans to watch in ALDS, NLDS, including Clayton Kershaw’s homecoming," 5 Oct. 2020 Another rookie receiver who enjoyed a Week 3 breakout, Higgins has a bit more competition for targets in Cincinnati. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Fantasy football waiver wire: Rookie receivers Justin Jefferson, Tee Higgins making their mark," 30 Sep. 2020 Dobnak was undrafted, pitched in an independent league and was an Uber driver before his 2019 breakout. Brian Hall, Star Tribune, "Kepler homers, Dobnak keeps rolling; Twins beat Royals 4-2," 16 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Few saw his 2020 season coming because Hyder entered the year with just two sacks since his breakout eight-sack season in 2016 with the Lions. Eric Branch,, "From backup roles to big money? 49ers’ Jason Verrett, Kerry Hyder could finally cash in," 11 Jan. 2021 This is a sour chapter of an otherwise breakout year for Hendrickson. Luke Johnson,, "Saints sacks leader Trey Hendrickson ruled out of Sunday's playoff game against the Bears," 8 Jan. 2021 While Oregon hasn’t had a technology IPO since 2004, two Clark County companies – ZoomInfo and nLight – have had breakout IPOs in recent years. oregonlive, "Flir, one of Oregon’s last homegrown technology companies, sells for $8 billion," 4 Jan. 2021 The last Gophers player to score back-to-back 30-point games was current Los Angeles Clippers guard Amir Coffey, who did that during a breakout eight-game stretch to get the U into the NCAA tournament in 2018-19. Marcus Fuller, Star Tribune, "Gophers pregame: Pitino's frontcourt looking for bigger impact Saturday vs. LMU," 28 Nov. 2020 Underwood joined the series in its second season in a breakout role as idealistic lawyer Jonathan Rollins and stayed with it through its conclusion. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "L.A. Law sequel with Blair Underwood is on ABC's docket," 18 Dec. 2020 At times nerve-wracking, and often unexpectedly funny, Unorthodox is full of rich characters, but its true treasure is the breakout performance of Shira Haas as the show’s young heroine. Wired Staff, Wired, "The Best Pop Culture That Got Us Through 2020," 16 Dec. 2020 Jackson's season hasn't mirrored his breakout 2019 season. Calum Trenaman, CNN, "'A game that 'will go down in history:' Baltimore Ravens beat Cleveland Browns with last-gasp field goal," 15 Dec. 2020 Appearing on the latest episode of PeopleTV's Couch Surfing, Flight Attendant star Rosie Perez reflected on her breakout role in the 1992 basketball classic White Men Can't Jump. Derek Lawrence,, "White Men Can't Jump star Rosie Perez on nerding out over Alex Trebek, whether she could host Jeopardy!," 11 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb One intraparty fight could break out over expanding access to health care, which Mrs. Pelosi says is one of her top goals. Natalie Andrews, WSJ, "Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi to Draw on Their History in Bid to Unite Fractious Democrats," 1 Jan. 2021 The weather service also noted that areas south of about Salem may not break out of the low clouds and fog Wednesday and may experience high temps in the lower 40s. oregonlive, "Portland Wednesday weather: Patchy morning fog, low clouds, then some clearing; high 49," 23 Dec. 2020 And quarterback Carson Wentz simply cannot break out of his slump and is on pace to reach career lows in completion rate (58.4%) and QB rating (73.2) and is two picks away from tying a career high in interceptions (14). Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, "NFL Week 10 winners, losers: Time to add Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray to MVP debate," 16 Nov. 2020 Courtney Barry, 40, a family nurse practitioner at a rural health clinic in Soledad, Calif., watched the cases of coronavirus finally ebb in her area, only to see wildfires break out. Reed Abelson, New York Times, "Doctors Are Calling It Quits Under Stress of the Pandemic," 15 Nov. 2020 Courtney Barry, 40, a family nurse practitioner at a rural health clinic in Soledad, California, watched the cases of coronavirus finally ebb in her area, only to see wildfires break out. Reed Abelson New York Times, Star Tribune, "Doctors are calling it quits under stress of the pandemic," 15 Nov. 2020 Shorter, a Penn State transfer and former five-star recruit, is among the candidates to break out Wednesday night in AT&T Stadium. Edgar Thompson,, "UF QB Kyle Trask ready to lead undermanned Gators against Oklahoma," 29 Dec. 2020 That will set the stage for rain to break out early on Monday morning. Greg Porter, Washington Post, "PM Update: Mild, spring-like weather continues on Sunday," 12 Dec. 2020 Dean finally gives in, just in time for Chuck to break out of his room, annoyed that the Winchesters have once again ruined his ending. Samantha Highfill,, "Supernatural recap: It's go time," 30 Oct. 2020

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 at sense 1


1960, in the meaning defined above


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

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Time Traveler for breakout

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for breakout

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Breakout.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for breakout


How to pronounce break out (audio)

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
\ (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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