breakthrough

noun, often attributive
break·​through | \ ˈbrāk-ˌthrü How to pronounce breakthrough (audio) \

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
broke through; broken through; breaking through; breaks through

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

Getting a better understanding of the connections within their nervous system could allow for breakthroughs on human systems. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "These Glowing Fruit Fly Heads Can Help Us Understand the Human Brain," 26 Nov. 2018 One hoped-for breakthrough would be the return of the remains of U.S. troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War. Andrew Harnik And Matthew Lee, USA TODAY, "Mike Pompeo seeks clarity in denuclearization talks with North Korea," 7 July 2018 One hoped-for breakthrough on this trip would have been the return of the remains of U.S. troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War. Andrew Harnik And Matthew Lee, chicagotribune.com, "North Korea says talks with Secretary of State Pompeo were 'regrettable' and 'robber-like'," 7 July 2018 One hoped-for breakthrough on this trip would have been the return of the remains of U.S. troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War. Andrew Harnik And Matthew Lee, BostonGlobe.com, "North Korea says talks with Pompeo were ‘regrettable’," 7 July 2018 One hoped-for breakthrough would be the return of the remains of U.S. troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War. Washington Post, "Pompeo seeks clarity in denuclearization talks with NKorea," 6 July 2018 Brown had been a magnetic figure even within the confines of New Edition, and his persona seemed prime for a solo breakthrough. Stereo Williams, Billboard, "New Jack Summer: In June '88, Bobby Brown, Teddy Riley & New Edition Announced the Arrival of R&B's New School," 20 June 2018 There is little incentive or infrastructure for a legislative breakthrough. Vivian Wang, New York Times, "As End of Legislative Session Nears, Ennui Wins the Day," 19 June 2018 The central midfielder was an integral part of the England Under-17 squad that famously won the World Cup last October, and HLTCO believe he could be set for a breakthrough next season. SI.com, "Former Spurs Youngster Pushing for Crystal Palace Breakthrough After Impressive England U18s Games," 29 May 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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Statistics for breakthrough

Last Updated

10 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 How to pronounce breakthrough (audio) \

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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