breakthrough

noun, often attributive
break·​through | \ ˈbrāk-ˌthrü How to pronounce breakthrough (audio) \

Definition of breakthrough

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 warfare : an offensive military assault that penetrates and carries beyond a defensive line
2 : an act or instance of moving through or beyond an obstacle a breakthrough in the talks between the region's leaders a breakthrough agreement
3a : a sudden advance especially in knowledge or technique a medical breakthrough
b : a person's first notable success a breakthrough novel the actress's breakthrough performance

break through

verb
broke through; broken through; breaking through; breaks through

Definition of break through (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to make a breakthrough

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for breakthrough

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of breakthrough in a Sentence

Noun Researchers say they have made a major breakthrough in cancer treatment. The police have announced a breakthrough in the murder case. This job could be the breakthrough she's been waiting for.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to America and one of Mr Netanyahu’s closest advisers, is said to have been behind the breakthrough. The Economist, "Next year in Jerusalem Serbia and Kosovo awkwardly embrace Israel," 12 Sep. 2020 The key breakthrough was in solid-state high-voltage switches that emerged in the early 2000s. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "Is Lightning-Fast Plasma the Key to a Cleaner Car Engine?," 9 Sep. 2020 The most prominent breakthrough involves proving a fundamental new law governing the tornado-like tubes of currents known as vortices. Quanta Magazine, "An Unexpected Twist Lights Up the Secrets of Turbulence," 3 Sep. 2020 But a breakthrough on state aid would be significant and inject impetus into the negotiations, one of the EU officials said. Ian Wishart, Bloomberg.com, "EU Presses U.K. to Reveal State-Aid Plans to Save Brexit Talks," 29 Aug. 2020 Aubameyang found the breakthrough in the 12th minute, latching onto Bukayo Saka's diagonal pass before curling into the net. Rob Harris, Star Tribune, "Community Shield: Aubameyang seals Arsenal win vs Liverpool," 29 Aug. 2020 The big breakthrough came when researchers in China made public the RNA sequence of the coronavirus, said Williamson, who spent 40 years as a professor at OSU. Special To The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "Wastewater sampling proves useful in tracking coronavirus; coast program to expand to 43 Oregon cities," 28 Aug. 2020 But that will take time, and the likelihood that any single study will provide either a clear picture or a breakthrough is low. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Dissecting the immune system’s response to COVID-19," 24 Aug. 2020 The breakthrough came in 1928, when competing American, French, and English research teams across Africa convened in Dakar to discuss the tragic case of one Adrian Stokes. Joshua Sokol, The Atlantic, "The Worst Animal in the World," 20 Aug. 2020

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

Noun

1915, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1946, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about breakthrough

Time Traveler for breakthrough

Time Traveler

The first known use of breakthrough was in 1915

See more words from the same year

Statistics for breakthrough

Last Updated

14 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Breakthrough.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/breakthrough. Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for breakthrough

breakthrough

noun
How to pronounce break through (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of breakthrough

: a sudden increase in knowledge, understanding, etc. : an important discovery that happens after trying for a long time to understand or explain something
: a person's first important success

breakthrough

noun
break·​through | \ ˈbrāk-ˌthrü How to pronounce breakthrough (audio) \

Kids Definition of breakthrough

: a sudden advance or successful development a breakthrough in medical research

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on breakthrough

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three bears two of them look like theyre whispering to a third bear who looks chuffed to be the center of attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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