break·away | \ˈbrā-kə-ˌwā \

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

Quick-Step hunted down the breakaway to set up Gaviria, who powered his way down the final meters of the 4-kilometer finish — the longest straightaway to conclude a leg on this Tour. Joseph Wilson,, "Colombia’s Fernando Gaviria wins Stage 4 of Tour de France," 10 July 2018 Boston did come close to tying the score at three late in the third period, as Marchand raced in on a breakaway off a center ice face-off with just under three minutes remaining, only to be slashed by defenseman Anton Stralman. Michael Blinn,, "Stanley Cup Playoffs Roundup: Lightning Rebound to Even Series; Karlsson Lifts Golden Knights in OT," 30 Apr. 2018 Bobby Butler had a semi-breakaway late in the first and Laco got his blocker on it. Stephen Whyno,, "Ryan Donato scores 2 as college kids power U.S. over Slovakia 2-1," 15 Feb. 2018 Killorn made it 2-1 on a breakaway off a Stamkos pass right after serving an interference penalty. USA TODAY, "Vasilevskiy makes 44 saves, Lightning beat Kings 4-3," 10 Feb. 2018 The Checkers had blown a 4-1 lead against the Rochester Americans, and less than a minute into overtime, the Americans had a two-on-one breakaway. Steve Lyttle, charlotteobserver, "The goal was big, but another play was key Sunday for the Charlotte Checkers," 21 Jan. 2018 And if no single breakaway star emerged from the roughly 40 shows and presentations rolled out over three days, there was plenty to applaud. New York Times, "New York Men’s Fashion Week: The Mixtape," 11 July 2018 Swift and dramatic — in the later years springing Warren Jeffs from prison and returning him to Colorado City, where his breakaway polygamist flock awaited. David Montero,, "Once zealously controlled by a religious sect, a small town tries to rehab its image — with beer," 5 July 2018 Peru almost added its third goal when Edison Flores' shot hit the post following a fast breakaway. Tales Azzoni,, "Peru leaves World Cup on high note, knocks out Australia with 2-0 win," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Hargeisa, Somaliland, serves as the capital of the breakaway republic of 3.5 million. Matina Stevis-gridneff, WSJ, "An Isolated Country Runs on Mobile Money," 8 July 2018 Georgia severed diplomatic ties with Russia following a brief war in the breakaway republic of South Ossetia. Jill Lawless,, "Russian former spy's daughter no longer in critical condition after poisoning," 29 Mar. 2018 Offredo, a French rider with the Wanty-Groupe Gobert team, established an advantage of more than eight minutes — the biggest breakaway lead in this year’s Tour — before being caught by the pack with about 56 miles to go. New York Times, "Longest Stage of the Tour de France Is Actually a Chance to Relax," 13 July 2018 Has breakaway speed, but isn’t afraid to run the ball between the tackles. Perry A. Farrell, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan's high school football recruiting Class of 2020 is full of talent," 12 May 2018 Sophomore tailback Jonathan Taylor gives the Badgers an every-down workhorse with breakaway speed, and junior Quintez Cephus—who was limited this spring after a right leg injury cut short his sophomore season—has all-conference potential. Chris Johnson,, "Post-Spring Top 25: Resetting the Pecking Order at the Offseason's Midpoint," 10 May 2018 Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess were almost clones of one another — big receivers with a nice catch radius but not a lot of breakaway speed. Scott Fowler, charlotteobserver, "Panthers picking D.J. Moore sends a message. Here's one he should save for Cam Newton. | Charlotte Observer," 27 Apr. 2018 Ross was then defeated by former Trump campaign state deputy director Lou Marin for vice chair, leaving the leader of a breakaway faction of Republicans without a seat on the committee board. Steven Lemongello,, "Charles Hart elected Orange County GOP chair after Ross, Hardee bow out," 19 June 2018 Also on Sunday, Egypt’s chief prosecutor referred 278 terror suspects to a military court on charges of joining two breakaway Brotherhood factions that have targeted police and army officers across the country for years. Washington Post, "Egypt acquits 2 police officers of killing detained lawyer," 13 May 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

11 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for breakaway

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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Comments on breakaway

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


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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