breakthrough

noun, often attributive
break·​through | \ ˈbrāk-ˌthrü \

Definition of breakthrough

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 warfare : an offensive military assault that penetrates and carries beyond a defensive line
2 : an act or instance of moving through or beyond an obstacle a breakthrough in the talks between the region's leaders a breakthrough agreement
3a : a sudden advance especially in knowledge or technique a medical breakthrough
b : a person's first notable success a breakthrough novel the actress's breakthrough performance

break through

verb

Definition of break through (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to make a breakthrough

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Synonyms & Antonyms for breakthrough

Synonyms: Noun

advance, advancement, enhancement, improvement, refinement

Antonyms: Noun

setback

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Examples of breakthrough in a Sentence

Noun

Researchers say they have made a major breakthrough in cancer treatment. The police have announced a breakthrough in the murder case. This job could be the breakthrough she's been waiting for.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In reality, though, spotting and breakthrough bleeding is extremely common. Amy Marturana, SELF, "12 Causes of Spotting and Breakthrough Bleeding," 28 Dec. 2018 From chart-topping albums to bigger-than-ever festivals, 2018 marked multiple breakthrough moments for the K-pop scene. Jeff Benjamin, Teen Vogue, "Monsta X on Proving Themselves in the United States and Meeting Some of Pop's Biggest Names," 26 Dec. 2018 Possible culprits could include, but are not limited to, breakthrough bleeding on the pill, infections, polyps, ectopic pregnancy, and pregnancy, Dr. Dweck says. Elizabeth Durand Streisand, Good Housekeeping, "What the Color of Your Vaginal Discharge Means, According to Gynos," 27 Nov. 2018 Europe has proven highly receptive to Xiaomi’s charms of high-spec devices at breakthrough prices. Vlad Savov, The Verge, "Xiaomi launches in the UK with Mi 8 Pro flagship," 8 Nov. 2018 Lytro’s breakthrough feature was the ability to read and understand a deluge of data, including the direction light rays are traveling. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "Camera Tricks: How the Dazzling iPhone XS and XR Photos Features Work," 13 Sep. 2018 Maximiliano Moralez got the breakthrough goal in the 85th minute and New York City FC beat the New York Red Bulls 1-0 on Sunday. Juan Pimiento, chicagotribune.com, "Moralez's late goal earns NYCFC a victory over Red Bulls," 8 July 2018 But keep the good champagne on ice, because the truly remarkable breakthroughs in spaceflight are right around the corner. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "The Virgin Galactic Hype Totally Misses the Point," 13 Dec. 2018 The potential diplomatic breakthrough doesn’t seem prompted by the lingering threat from al Qaeda. Sune Engel Rasmussen And Saleh Al-batati, WSJ, "Yemen’s War Opens Way for al Qaeda’s Revival," 22 Nov. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'breakthrough.' 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 breakthrough

Noun

1915, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1946, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for breakthrough

The first known use of breakthrough was in 1915

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More Definitions for breakthrough

breakthrough

noun

English Language Learners Definition of breakthrough

: a sudden increase in knowledge, understanding, etc. : an important discovery that happens after trying for a long time to understand or explain something

: a person's first important success

breakthrough

noun
break·​through | \ ˈbrāk-ˌthrü \

Kids Definition of breakthrough

: a sudden advance or successful development a breakthrough in medical research

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Comments on breakthrough

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tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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