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

Therapy can be a tricky, even reductive thing to dramatize, but if the AA scenes run a bit long, Van Sant gives them a vivid open-endedness: Every answer and breakthrough brings with it another question. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Review: Joaquin Phoenix stars in the captivating addiction drama 'Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot'," 12 July 2018 Recent breakthroughs let phone makers embed the fingerprint reader inside the screen. Geoffrey Fowler, courant.com, "Future Phones: They Fold Like Napkins, Have 9 Cameras, Charge Over Thin Air," 6 July 2018 In truth, the pharmaceutical industry in the United States is largely socialized, especially upstream in the drug development process, when basic research cuts the first pathways to medical breakthroughs. Alexander Zaitchik, The New Republic, "How Big Pharma Was Captured by the One Percent," 28 June 2018 Usually this would be a flash-in-the-pan breakthrough that in no way influences Ramona’s thought process ever again. refinery29.com, "Did Ramona Singer Finally Have A Breakthrough On RHONY?," 28 June 2018 The Seahawks, as would be expected, said all the right things during minicamp about their confidence in their safety corps, even without the presence of Earl Thomas, who is holding out with no current breakthrough in sight. Bob Condotta, The Seattle Times, "Ron Parker’s signing in Atlanta may show that Seahawks are content with their depth at safety," 25 June 2018 Its mission is to accelerate medical breakthroughs that personalize prevention, treatment, and care for all Americans. Eric Dishman, STAT, "I handed over my genetic data to the NIH. Here’s why you should, too," 13 June 2018 This year Krejcikova has made a breakthrough in doubles, a discipline in which Novotna won 11 Grand Slam titles. Ben Rothenberg, New York Times, "The Wisdom of Jana Novotna Lives On in a Young Czech Player," 10 July 2018 The next big moment figures to be whenever Dunand makes his major-league breakthrough. Andre C. Fernandez, miamiherald, "Being related to a baseball icon is something this Marlins prospect handles like a pro," 9 July 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

11 Oct 2018

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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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one that holds something together

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