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

Definition of breakout

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : a violent or forceful break from a restraining condition or situation especially : a military attack to break from encirclement
2 : 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



Definition of breakout (Entry 2 of 3)

: being or relating to a sudden or smashing success especially in comparison to previous efforts a breakout book

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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Nathan Ferguson has enjoyed a breakout season at West Brom - something which hasn't gone unnoticed by top-level clubs across Europe., "6 Things to Know About Juventus, Atletico Madrid & Tottenham Transfer Target Nathan Ferguson," 22 Oct. 2019 San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead is having a breakout season as the 49ers continue their surprising start to the season. oregonlive, "Watch: Former Oregon Duck Arik Armstead recovers fumble in San Francisco 49ers’ big win," 15 Oct. 2019 Engram, who is having a breakout season, missed Thursday night’s 35-14 loss to the New England Patriots with a knee injury. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Giants’ Engram expects to return vs Cards; Barkley possible," 14 Oct. 2019 Ebron had a breakout season in 2018, leading all NFL tight ends with 13 touchdown receptions and totaling 66 catches (sixth) for 750 yards (fifth). Matt Kawahara,, "Raiders to face three Colts tight ends who hurt them last season," 28 Sep. 2019 Andrews might have a breakout season, but Jackson’s accuracy is still questionable. Mike Preston,, "Preston: Lamar Jackson is the Ravens’ No. 1 weapon and will carry the team if he stays consistent," 16 Sep. 2019 Cornerback James Bradberry could be on the verge of a breakout season with an interception and a sack. Steve Reed, The Denver Post, "Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey could use some help on offense," 9 Sep. 2019 Most irreplaceable player: Linebacker Jerome Baker Expect Baker to have a breakout season in his second year in the NFL because coach Brian Flores’ defense is built around his skill-sets. Omar Kelly,, "Kelly: Here’s a look at the Miami Dolphins’ highs and lows from training camp and preseason | Commentary," 1 Sep. 2019 The Spartans will have to protect Love all year if a breakout season is to be expected. Victor Aquino, The Mercury News, "Five things we learned at San Jose State football media day," 31 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective American Ashley Wagner was a surprise omission from the U.S. figure skating roster after Tennell's breakout performances in Skate America and the national championships. Anchorage Daily News, "Everything you need to know about the Winter Olympics," 8 Feb. 2018 American Ashley Wagner was a surprise omission from the U.S. figure skating roster after Tennell's breakout performances in Skate America and the national championships. The Washington Post,, "Everything you need to know about the Winter Olympics," 7 Feb. 2018 Sparring Partner Next year's breakout Victoria's Secret supermodel, who has a mean right cross. Benjy Hansen-bundy, GQ, "How To Be Better Than Everyone Else In 2018," 7 Feb. 2018 The evening featured a panel presentation and interactive breakout discussion groups aimed to empower singles to share their common experiences and ideas for proactive solutions. Sergio Carmona, Jewish Journal, "South Beach soiree attracts Jewish singles looking for love," 7 Feb. 2018 Johnson said via email, before her breakout weekend. Chadd Cripe, idahostatesman, "U.S. Olympians with ties to Idaho include skier, snowboarders | Idaho Statesman," 6 Feb. 2018 Bartosz Kapustka, a player hyped for his breakout performances for Poland at Euro 2016, failed to play a single Premier League game last season and was loaned to Freiburg for 2017-18., "Extent of Leicester's Poor 2016 Recruitment Made Clear After Last Signings Leave Club," 2 Feb. 2018 Similarly, Haddish’s spirited turn in Girls Trip was one of the breakout performances of 2017. Eliza Berman, Time, "The Biggest Snubs and Surprises of the 2018 Oscar Nominations," 23 Jan. 2018 Camila Mendes is best known for her breakout performance as pithy former mean girl Veronica Lodge on The CW's Riverdale. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Riverdale's Camila Mendes Impersonates the Internet," 18 Jan. 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Military spending increased in the U.S. following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and decreased in Europe after the Cold War ended in 1990 and again after the financial crisis broke out in 2008. Jonathan Stearns | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Why NATO, at 70, Is Facing New Doubt and Criticism: QuickTake," 12 Nov. 2019 Four men were stabbed, one fatally, and a fifth was beaten Monday morning after a fight broke out over a minor car crash in the Portage Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side, according to Chicago police. Alice Yin,, "4 stabbed, one fatally, in Portage Park after argument over damaged car, police say," 11 Nov. 2019 The fire in Hollywood Hills comes barely a few weeks after a series of much more dangerous wildfires across California broke out, prompting Gov. Gavin Newsom to declare a statewide emergency. Sanya Mansoor, Time, "California Wildfire Breaks Out Near Warner Bros. Studios in Hollywood Hills," 10 Nov. 2019 Since protests broke out on Oct. 1, security forces have repeatedly clashed with the largely leaderless movement. Saphora Smith, NBC News, "Iraqi government must 'engage seriously' with protesters, says U.S. embassy," 6 Nov. 2019 Police arrested a 42-year-old man Saturday on suspicion of arson after a string of small fires broke out in Hayward. Tatiana Sanchez,, "Police arrest suspected arsonist after string of small East Bay fires," 3 Nov. 2019 Immediate impacts from wildfire smoke Since the fires broke out, several counties throughout California have experienced poor air quality as registered by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index (AQI). National Geographic, "Wildfires pose new threats as homes burn, releasing toxic fumes," 31 Oct. 2019 Already at risk after World War II had broken out, Jews faced increasing repression there from a regime allied to Germany. David Allen, New York Times, "Marta Kurtag Dies at 92, Sundering a Profound Musical Partnership," 25 Oct. 2019 Trying to make her way in a hostile land, Lepage befriends a group of rebellious local students while also meeting a small band of French journalists and photographers arriving in town as the war breaks out. Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Camille': Film Review," 24 Oct. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of breakout


1820, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1960, in the meaning defined above


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

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Time Traveler for breakout

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for breakout

Last Updated

20 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Breakout.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 22 November 2019.

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More Definitions for breakout


How to pronounce break out (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of breakout

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an escape from a prison, jail, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of breakout (Entry 2 of 2)

US : having, causing, or marked by sudden and great success that comes usually after a time without much success


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, 9 July 2007 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, May 1981
\ (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

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More from Merriam-Webster on breakout

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for breakout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with breakout

Nglish: Translation of breakout for Spanish Speakers

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