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

Adjective A breakaway faction formed a new party.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Cape Cod Tech 1, Plymouth North/Plymouth South 1 — Senior Rebecca Sylvestre took off a breakaway and scored the only goal for Plymouth (3-3-2), but the Furies (1-2-3) countered with a score less than 30 seconds later to force a draw. Seamus Mcavoy,, "Shay Bollin leads Bridgewater-Raynham’s girls’ basketball comeback at Newton North," 5 Jan. 2020 Friday at Tri-City: both of his assists came in this game, a great pass for a Seth Jarvis breakaway, and then a secondary assist on the winner, in a 3-2 Portland overtime win. Dylan Bumbarger, oregonlive, "Winterhawks Player of the Week: Johnny Ludvig," 30 Dec. 2019 Glendening followed up with a breakaway during Tampa Bay’s third power play, in the third period. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Red Wings keep it close in 2-1 loss to Lightning thanks to Jonathan Bernier in net," 30 Dec. 2019 Goodrow was awarded the chance after being slashed by Nashville’s Filip Forsberg on a shorthanded breakaway. Jim Diamond,, "Sharks fall to Predators for 5th straight loss," 11 Dec. 2019 Cole used a big slap shot from the left wing and Burakovsky scored on a semi-breakaway. Mike Chambers, The Denver Post, "Avs lose Philipp Grubauer and Cale Makar to injuries but defeat Bruins, 4-1, for sixth consecutive victory," 7 Dec. 2019 One of their third-period shots came from Alex Frye on a short-handed breakaway, but Martinsson made the save. Anchorage Daily News, "Nanooks hold off Seawolves 2-1 as hockey returns to UAA campus," 26 Oct. 2019 The shot came on a breakaway that saw the forward take on and beat numerous Pittsburgh defenders and get a shot in the box that was saved by Morton. Cheryl Wray, al, "Legion FC loses season finale to Pittsburgh, heads to USL playoffs," 21 Oct. 2019 Roughly half of the region’s 7.5 million residents support independence, with the other half opposing a breakaway, according to polls. Washington Post, "Spanish government readies measures amid Catalonia violence," 16 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective China has viewed Taiwan as a breakaway province and has passed aircraft carriers into the strait since Taiwan's President Tsai lng-wen took office in 2016. Fox News, "China sails carrier fleet through Taiwan Strait in apparent message days after US warship crossed," 18 Nov. 2019 Many of them had the same question: Did Williams have breakaway speed for a running back? Tom Green |, al, "No one is sleeping on Auburn’s D.J. Williams anymore," 13 Nov. 2019 All were members of the LeBaron family, a breakaway group of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who settled in Mexico. Manuel Bojorquez, CBS News, "Funerals held for mother and four children killed in Mexico ambush," 8 Nov. 2019 The controversy is rooted in the unwillingness of Hong Kong to recognize the legitimacy of the legal bodies in Taiwan, which communist leaders in Beijing consider a breakaway province., "HONG KONG — Hong Kong authorities on Wednesday withdrew an unpopular extradition bill that sparked months of chaotic protests that have since morphed into a campaign for greater democratic change.," 24 Oct. 2019 The controversy is rooted in the unwillingness of Hong Kong to recognize the legitimacy of the legal bodies in Taiwan, which communist leaders in Beijing consider a breakaway province. Kelvin Chan,, "Hong Kong formally withdraws the extradition bill that sparked protests," 23 Oct. 2019 Callaway has more breakaway speed, and Higgins is a better route runner., "Derrick Willies: How he looked on Day 11 of Cleveland Browns training camp," 6 Aug. 2019 Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia stoked conflict in breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine. Dina Khrennikova, Washington Post, "Why the Russia-Ukraine Gas Dispute Worries Europe," 6 Dec. 2019 Cowan took just two shots in the opening half, missing an early 3-pointer and scoring on a breakaway layup off a nice feed from sophomore guard Serrel Smith Jr. Don Markus,, "3 takeaways from No. 3 Maryland’s 72-51 win over Notre Dame in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge," 5 Dec. 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.

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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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Time Traveler for breakaway

Time Traveler

The first known use of breakaway was in 1535

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Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Breakaway.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for breakaway



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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dull or mediocre

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