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

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

Hydro Flask's breakthrough was to brainstorm a new way to develop and market this old technology. Tim Newcomb, Popular Mechanics, "Why Are Hydro Flask Bottles Suddenly Everywhere?," 23 Feb. 2019 Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, characterized the offer as a breakthrough. Kristina Peterson, WSJ, "Senate to Weigh Trump’s Proposal to End Shutdown, With Passage Unlikely," 21 Jan. 2019 Trump and White House aides have promoted the apparent U.S.-China agreement in Buenos Aires as an historic breakthrough that would ease trade tensions and potentially reduce tariffs. Christopher Rugaber, The Seattle Times, "White House intensifies confusion and fear on US-China deal," 5 Dec. 2018 Why this matters: Intel and Micron's 3D Xpoint technology was hailed as a breakthrough when announced but has admittedly been fighting an uphill battle on its higher cost per GB. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Intel's 905P Optane reaches a tempting 1.5TB, but drive prices remain high," 21 Sep. 2018 The biggest breakthrough has come from Jesús Aguilar, who got a chance to play first base regularly when Thames was away for seven weeks with a thumb injury and became the team’s most consistent offensive force (.944 OPS). Tom Haudricourt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Haudricourt: Numbers tell the story of the Brewers' offensive ups and downs," 22 June 2018 But the real breakthrough of Sunday's episode comes when Bernard and Elsie (Shannon Woodward) chase down the rogue code that is preventing Delos management from regaining control of the park. Sandra Upson, WIRED, "Westworld Recap, Season 2 Episode 9: The Many Lives of the Man in Black," 18 June 2018 The diplomatic breakthrough represented by Holt’s release comes as the U.S. re-evaluates Trump’s canceled nuclear summit with North Korea, the Times reports. Jeff Truesdell, PEOPLE.com, "American Returns Home After 2 'Very Difficult' Years in Venezuelan Prison: 'I'm Just So Grateful'," 27 May 2018 Denis Cheryshev and Carlos Bacca nearly capitalised on Madrid's hesitant defending, but the breakthrough came midway through the second period. SI.com, "Villarreal vs Real Madrid Preview: Previous Encounter, Key Battle, Team News & More," 18 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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Last Updated

1 Mar 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 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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of or relating to a parable or parabola

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