break·​out | \ ˈbrāk-ˌau̇t How to pronounce breakout (audio) \
plural breakouts

Definition of breakout

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a violent or forceful break from a restraining condition or situation: such as
a : a military attack to break from encirclement
b : an escape from prison or jail
2a : 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
b : an outbreak of disease a measles breakout
3 : a success or accomplishment especially in comparison to previous efforts His breakout in 2006 felt like one of those too-good-to-be-true narratives …— S. L. Price
4 : breakout session They met in breakouts to exchange beat information and story ideas on the crucial coverage areas …Editor & Publisher
5 ice hockey : a play that moves the puck out of the defensive zone … several drills during practice stressed short, crisp passing on the breakouts.— David J. Neal



Definition of breakout (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : being or relating to a sudden or smashing success especially in comparison to previous efforts a breakout book
2 : being, relating to, or used in a breakout session a breakout discussion breakout activities … some students have thrived in the small groups afforded by virtual breakout rooms.— Jal Mehta In breakout groups, they debated which proposals would have the most impact, but also the most support.— Hannan Adely

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

Synonyms for breakout

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of breakout in a Sentence

Noun the captives had been planning to stage a breakout at the next change in shift for the guards Adjective The company had a breakout year last year, tripling its profits from the previous year. Verb in the wake of news reports of deaths from the flu, panic broke out, and there was a mad rush for flu shots
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Can Venice run it back from last season’s championship-winning breakout? Luca Evans, Los Angeles Times, 5 Aug. 2022 During Memorial Day weekend, when the first trailer was deployed, the camera caught a fight breakout and officers were able to respond to the location and break it up, Cmdr. The Indianapolis Star, 4 Aug. 2022 The actress and avid foodie, 43, posted a video on Instagram after she was inspired to cook a recipe taken straight from the kitchen of the breakout FX show (which also streams on Hulu). Anna Lazarus Caplan, Peoplemag, 4 Aug. 2022 If your breakout persists or if the area becomes swollen, tender, or warm to the touch, reach out to a doctor to discuss the next best steps, Dr. Skelsey says. Sarah Ban, SELF, 3 Aug. 2022 Batgirl stars In the Heights breakout Leslie Grace as Barbara Gordon/Batgirl — along with Michael Keaton as Batman, J.K. Simmons as Barbara’s father, Commissioner James Gordon, and Brendan Fraser as the villain Firefly. Aaron Couch, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Aug. 2022 There hasn’t been a true force in the middle since Quinnen Williams’s breakout 2018 season. Michael Casagrande |, al, 2 Aug. 2022 The Football Outsiders analysts who generate the sleeper breakout rankings have followed the same criteria for 16 years. Mason Young, Detroit Free Press, 2 Aug. 2022 Dead Man’s Chest was a classic breakout sequel, becoming just the third movie to top $1 billion worldwide. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 1 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Koji's character, the Chinese immigrant Ah Sahm, became his breakout role. Diep Tran, NBC News, 5 Aug. 2022 After several years of playing small parts on TV shows, Sheen got his breakout role as an Air Force pilot in the 1970 satirical war flick, Catch-22. Staff Author, Peoplemag, 3 Aug. 2022 Boyega is set to appear in Attack the Block 2, the original film being his breakout role in the U.K., and The Woman King alongside Viola Davis. Milan Polk, Men's Health, 2 Aug. 2022 Soon after, Maya landed her breakout role as Robin Buckley in the third season of Stranger Things, which was released in 2019. Skyler Caruso,, 25 July 2022 Most recently, Park received an Emmy nomination for best supporting actor for his breakout role in Squid Game. Sara Merican, Forbes, 24 July 2022 Golding landed the breakout role—the dashing heir to a staggering fortune who brings his unsuspecting girlfriend home for the first time—and was instantly catapulted to the top of Hollywood’s A-list. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, 15 July 2022 Meg Stalter, a comedian whose work went viral on social media at the start of the pandemic, parlayed her online popularity into a breakout role on HBO Max’s series, Hacks, and a comedy pilot with the streamer. J. Clara Chan, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 July 2022 Lera Above, Jameela Jamil and German actor Flula Borg, who had a breakout role in Pitch Perfect 2. Giovana Gelhoren,, 29 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Vander Plaats argued that although Trump was the favorite, others could break out, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Haris Alic, Fox News, 9 July 2022 Andrushenko fears that illnesses could break out in the city because of the rubbish and dead bodies buried in shallow graves, according to The Guardian. Donetsk. Katya Soldak, Forbes, 6 June 2022 The novel follows a young Korean American boy named Jordan trying to reach his father, a liquor store owner, on the night that the riots break out. Frank Shyong Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 26 Feb. 2022 The move further raised concerns that a broader armed conflict could break out as Russian troops move in and came after Putin gained parliamentary approval to use his armed forces abroad. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 23 Feb. 2022 There is an unwritten rule that no world war can break out during a Super Bowl. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Feb. 2022 Far-right social media users openly hinted for weeks that chaos would break out at the Capitol while Congress convened to certify the election results. Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 24 Feb. 2021 But the more serious threat is that infections could break out on massive pig farms to the north. Stefano Pitrelli, Washington Post, 17 July 2022 The Guardians saw hitters who had scuffled for the better part of a week finally break out against Royals starter Jonathan Heasley (1-5, 5.50), while those who entered the game hot at the plate continued to pour it on. Joe Noga, cleveland, 9 July 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of breakout


1820, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1960, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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

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Time Traveler for breakout

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

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Dictionary Entries Near breakout

break open


break out

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Statistics for breakout

Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Breakout.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for breakout


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 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

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

Nglish: Translation of breakout for Spanish Speakers


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