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


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

Felder, the other breakaway who didn’t rejoin the Democrats in April, also survived his first primary challenge against Blake Morris. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The primary defeat of New York’s “independent Democrats,” explained," 14 Sep. 2018 Elis, on a one-on-one breakaway, cut back to evade defender Johan Kappelhof and ripped a right-footer from the center of the box into the back of the net to give the Dynamo (4-3-3) a 3-2 lead in the 74th minute. Chronicle News Services, Houston Chronicle, "Albert Elis scores twice to give Dynamo first road win," 21 May 2018 But the idea of a new competition or breakaway by Europe’s mega-rich clubs? Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Soccer’s Super League Threat Isn’t Going Away," 12 Nov. 2018 Carter sent the ball ahead to a sprinting Durr, and the guard threw a bounce pass to Kylee Shook on 2-on-1 breakaway. Danielle Lerner, The Courier-Journal, "It's time to start paying attention to the best team in Louisville: Women's basketball | Lerner," 12 Jan. 2018 The Fall: Only one part of the chase used significant CGI, and it’s at the very beginning, when a carriage makes a six-foot jump through a breakaway platform to the ground. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "How They Pulled Off the Chase Scene in 'Robin Hood'," 30 Nov. 2018 Only Turkey recognizes the breakaway north, and has propped up its economy to the tune of 500 million euros annually to cover a budget shortfall. Menelaos Hadjicostis, Fox News, "Turkish Cypriots protest price hikes from Turkish lira woes," 6 Sep. 2018 Quim Torra, Catalonia’s regional president, said Tuesday that while maintaining his pledge to see through the breakaway bid, his immediate focus is on putting pressure on the courts ahead of the trials of the separatist movement’s jailed leaders. Joseph Wilson, The Seattle Times, "Separatists launch ‘autumn of protests’ on Catalonia Day," 11 Sep. 2018 Those struggles have amplified longstanding weaknesses in the rest of the team, where an aging back line, a lack of dynamism in midfield, and a shaky goalkeeping situation have left Argentina looking worryingly vulnerable on the breakaway. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, "Argentina’s Messi Problem," 25 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Williams then gave the Wildcats the lead for good on the final shot of the half, a breakaway layup to put the score at 29-28. Eric Trent, The Seattle Times, "Woodinville captures first Wes-King girls title by sprinting past Glacier Peak," 18 Feb. 2019 Just as Leicester pressed for an equalizer, Son Heung-min scored a breakaway goal in the first minute of stoppage time. Rob Harris, The Seattle Times, "Aguero, City humiliate Chelsea — and referee joins in japes," 10 Feb. 2019 Her breakaway speed in the midfield made her a dangerous presence on offense and defense., "2017-18 Field Hockey All-Scholastics," 7 May 2018 Both Russian and Ukrainian militaries have been boosting their naval deployments around the Sea of Azov since Moscow seized the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea in 2014 and helped pro-Russian militants create breakaway territories in eastern Ukraine. Thomas Grove, WSJ, "Russia Fires on Ukrainian Military Vessel Near Crimea," 25 Nov. 2018 But a breakaway group of dozens tried to march toward Government House, the seat of Thailand’s executive power. New York Times, "Anniversary of Thai Coup Draws Uneasy Protest and Police Threats," 22 May 2018 For years, Republicans held the state Senate because of a breakaway group of eight Democratic state senators who caucused with Republicans. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, "The Energy 202: New York vows to continue climate work without Schneiderman," 9 May 2018 Another breakaway group of Democrats, the eight-member Independent Democratic Conference, also supported the Senate's Republican leadership but returned to the mainline Democrats this year under pressure from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "GOP keeps control of NY Senate despite Democrat victories," 25 Apr. 2018 In 1976, a crew of hijackers — including members of a breakaway Palestinian group and two members of a self-proclaimed German revolutionary outfit — seized an Air France flight going from Israel to Paris. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'Tomb Raider,' 'Love, Simon,' 'I Can Only Imagine' and more movies in Milwaukee," 15 Mar. 2018

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.

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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

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Last Updated

15 Mar 2019

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The first known use of breakaway was in 1535

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English Language Learners Definition of breakaway

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

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with breakaway

Nglish: Translation of breakaway for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breakaway for Arabic Speakers

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a shady place in a garden or forest

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