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

break, bunk [British], escape, flight, getaway, lam, rout, slip

Synonyms: Verb

blaze (up), burst (forth), erupt, explode, flame, flare (up)

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Examples of breakout in a Sentence


the captives had been planning to stage a breakout at the next change in shift for the guards


The company had a breakout year last year, tripling its profits from the previous year.


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

Last season's winner begins with a familiar defeat, while Chelsea is left to sort out some internal decision making and RB Salzburg's breakout star takes it a step further on opening day of the 2019-2020 Champions League. Jonathan Wilson,, "Liverpool Falls, Haland Breaks Out, PK Drama for Chelsea in UCL's Return," 17 Sep. 2019 The 23-year-old Medvedev, a breakout star in men’s tennis, showed nothing less in his own major final debut Sunday night. Wayne Coffey, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Rafael Nadal humble matador once more, finds way to win when all is going wrong," 9 Sep. 2019 Cameron, then a young writer for The Hollywood Reporter, knew Harper would be a breakout star and the two became close friends. Liz Mcneil,, "Valerie Harper's Friend of 50 Years Remembers the 'Most Kind Person I've Ever Known'," 5 Sep. 2019 Tullock, especially, is the breakout star of the film, imbuing her ostentatious character with real soul. Katie Walsh,, "‘Before You Know It’ review: Judith Light’s a scene stealer in dramedy about reunited family," 5 Sep. 2019 Tullock, especially, is the breakout star of the film, imbuing her ostentatious character with real soul. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Before You Know It’ is a charming but messy take on family love," 5 Sep. 2019 Philip Hammond, who served as Theresa May's Chancellor until just weeks ago, was among them -- as was Rory Stewart, another former minister and the breakout star of this summer's Conservative leadership contest that Johnson ultimately won. Rob Picheta, CNN, "Winston Churchill's grandson expelled from Conservative Party by Boris Johnson in wake of Brexit crisis," 4 Sep. 2019 Not only is the show coming off a record-breaking season, during which contestant James Holzhauer achieved an incredible 32-game winning streak, but Trebek teased that the upcoming season also has a breakout star. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Alex Trebek has finished chemotherapy and is back to work at "Jeopardy!"," 29 Aug. 2019 Will true freshman Jaren Mangham — a four-star recruit and spring game breakout star — get the bulk of the carries in his first game in gold and black? The Denver Post, "Rocky Mountain Showdown 2019: Who has the edge, staff predictions and things to watch," 29 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

American Ashley Wagner was a surprise omission from the U.S. figure skating roster after Tennell's breakout performances in Skate America and the national championships. Anchorage Daily News, "Everything you need to know about the Winter Olympics," 8 Feb. 2018 American Ashley Wagner was a surprise omission from the U.S. figure skating roster after Tennell's breakout performances in Skate America and the national championships. The Washington Post,, "Everything you need to know about the Winter Olympics," 7 Feb. 2018 Sparring Partner Next year's breakout Victoria's Secret supermodel, who has a mean right cross. Benjy Hansen-bundy, GQ, "How To Be Better Than Everyone Else In 2018," 7 Feb. 2018 The evening featured a panel presentation and interactive breakout discussion groups aimed to empower singles to share their common experiences and ideas for proactive solutions. Sergio Carmona, Jewish Journal, "South Beach soiree attracts Jewish singles looking for love," 7 Feb. 2018 Johnson said via email, before her breakout weekend. Chadd Cripe, idahostatesman, "U.S. Olympians with ties to Idaho include skier, snowboarders | Idaho Statesman," 6 Feb. 2018 Bartosz Kapustka, a player hyped for his breakout performances for Poland at Euro 2016, failed to play a single Premier League game last season and was loaned to Freiburg for 2017-18., "Extent of Leicester's Poor 2016 Recruitment Made Clear After Last Signings Leave Club," 2 Feb. 2018 Similarly, Haddish’s spirited turn in Girls Trip was one of the breakout performances of 2017. Eliza Berman, Time, "The Biggest Snubs and Surprises of the 2018 Oscar Nominations," 23 Jan. 2018 Camila Mendes is best known for her breakout performance as pithy former mean girl Veronica Lodge on The CW's Riverdale. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Riverdale's Camila Mendes Impersonates the Internet," 18 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Raiders had broken out to a 10-0 lead with a field goal on the opening drive and a 4-yard TD pass to Tyrell Williams later in the first quarter. oregonlive, "Patrick Mahomes throws 4 TDs in second quarter to power Kansas City past the Oakland Raiders: Recap, score, stats and more," 15 Sep. 2019 The gunfire broke out during the third quarter of a game between the Fort Worth Longhorns and the 81G Bulldogs at Eastern Hills High School, NBC News affiliate KXAS in Dallas-Fort Worth reported. Dennis Romero, NBC News, "Parent dispute leads to gunfire at youth football game in Texas," 14 Sep. 2019 For a unique open water challenge, members broke out their wet suits for the 2019 Alcatraz Sharkfest Swim challenge in San Francisco Bay. Emmett Hall,, "Swim Fort Lauderdale Masters Team enjoys whirlwind competitive summer," 12 Sep. 2019 For the first time, the Census Bureau breaks out the proportion of Americans buying health plans through the ACA's insurance marketplaces . Amy Goldstein, Anchorage Daily News, "Share of Americans without health insurance increases, Census Bureau reports," 10 Sep. 2019 Earlier this summer, a brawl broke out on a P&O cruise ship, witnesses say, when one passenger appeared dressed as a clown. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "Cruise Ship Etiquette Tips: A Primer For Before You Sail," 4 Sep. 2019 The audience, mostly white and middle-aged, broke out in applause. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, "A Fresh, Well-Funded Start for Pete Buttigieg in Iowa," 4 Sep. 2019 There, a fascinating pseudo-philosophical conversation breaks out about the merits of a Waystar-Pierce merger. Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, "‘Succession’ Recap, S2E4: The Gold Rush," 3 Sep. 2019 After being asked to leave, a fight broke out and someone in the group started firing a gun at around 11:30 p.m. Barber Devaughn Gibson, 23, student DelVaunte Johnson, 19, and laborer Toshon Banks, 21, died of multiple gunshot wounds. Matt Bonesteel, The Denver Post, "Simone Biles says she’s having a “hard time processing” brother’s murder charges," 3 Sep. 2019

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 above


1960, in the meaning defined above


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

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Learn More about breakout

Statistics for breakout

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for breakout

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

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More Definitions for breakout



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

break out

intransitive verb
\ (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

More from Merriam-Webster on breakout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with breakout

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for breakout

Nglish: Translation of breakout for Spanish Speakers

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