Definition of abreast in English:



  • 1Side by side and facing the same way.

    ‘the path was wide enough for two people to walk abreast’
    ‘they were riding three abreast’
    • ‘We were walking three abreast down the sidewalk, with that peculiar city gait that belongs only to the evening - slow enough to be casual, but brisk enough to be purposeful.’
    • ‘A tiny arched drawbridge spanned the channel, wide enough for two people to walk abreast.’
    • ‘Do they really think that by riding nine abreast, they are indestructible?’
    • ‘Ahead in the light of the rising sun, they walked four abreast: well dressed, totally in black, wearing expressions of serious missions.’
    • ‘Before them stretched a long corridor, allowing only three people to walk abreast.’
    • ‘They are walking eight abreast, so that they take up all of the narrow pavement and spill out for several yards into the road.’
    • ‘They often, too, ride two abreast, causing car drivers to swerve to the other side of the road to pass them.’
    • ‘You can see them walking three abreast and you have to walk into the road to get past.’
    • ‘Everyone is entitled to walk the streets of the town - but not to take them over and walk four and five abreast.’
    • ‘It is virtually impossible to walk two abreast along the pavement and for wheelchairs and pushchairs it is a complete nightmare.’
    • ‘Conveying a fluid sense of motion, simple outlines portray two lions walking abreast.’
    • ‘Over the Marriage Bridge the Honeymoon Path is broad, allowing a couple to walk abreast - until they reach an obstruction that represents the first difference of opinion.’
    • ‘The interior is so cramped that two people cannot walk abreast.’
    • ‘We set out along a series of paths just wide enough for two horses to walk abreast.’
    • ‘There are the people who walk three abreast and really slowly forcing you to lower your pace until you spot a chance to get around them.’
    • ‘The couple were both quite fat and were walking abreast and consequently blocked the whole path.’
    • ‘The secret passage was wide enough for three or four men to walk abreast.’
    • ‘Elderly people seemed to dominate the pavements as they walked six abreast, oblivious of the office workers and commuters ‘tutting’ as they had to walk into the road to get round them.’
    • ‘So when two cyclists - one of my other pet peeves - cut him off by riding two abreast, I kindly offered to open the passenger door and clean them up for him.’
    • ‘Cyclists may feel a little more inclined to use the towpath if pedestrians did not walk four abreast and refuse to give way until the last minute and dog walkers kept their dogs on a short lead and cleaned up after their dogs.’
    in a row, side by side, alongside, level, abeam, on a level, beside each other, shoulder to shoulder, cheek by jowl
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  • 2Alongside or level with something.

    ‘the cart came abreast of the Americans in their rickshaw’
    • ‘Twenty minutes out and through the mist we came abreast of a race in full swing.’
    • ‘As I kept walking and came abreast with the ice cream vendor, I saw a sign on the front that said ‘Sorry, no power = no ice cream.’’
    • ‘He said there was no way the two cars could have been abreast of each other on the night.’
    • ‘As he came abreast of the viewing stand, he was coming full circle preparing to start the cycle again.’
    1. 2.1Up to date with the latest news, ideas, or information.
      ‘keeping abreast of developments’
      ‘it makes sense to stay abreast of changes in the advertising business’
      • ‘Indeed, she reads the paper and a variety of magazines regularly, and likes to keep abreast of current affairs.’
      • ‘Eddie spent all his adult life working in England and always kept abreast of what was happening in his native Roscommon.’
      • ‘Mr Gonsell spends half an hour a day reading the New York Times and Washington Post to keep abreast with international news.’
      • ‘It has a sizable business section with two writers sharing the job of keeping readers abreast the news.’
      • ‘Another way of keeping abreast of opportunities is to use one of the services that track contracts that could be relevant to your business.’
      • ‘His treatment is based on the latest knowledge by a leading authority who has kept abreast of both the information and the debates.’
      • ‘This helps keep him abreast of how Yorkshire has changed over the years - not that change is too rapid.’
      • ‘As those of us who have kept abreast of current events know, this is a profoundly important election.’
      • ‘It is difficult to keep abreast of the various voluntary activities that Veronica has engaged herself in.’
      • ‘This is particularly true in the office, where crafty technologies help bosses keep abreast of what their employees are doing.’
      • ‘I am supposed to keep abreast of things happening around the world.’
      • ‘However, experts said the targets were ‘well short’ of what will be needed to keep abreast of growing demand.’
      • ‘Do we need a new kind of technology to keep us abreast of these developments?’
      • ‘Doctors do this kind of thing in order to keep abreast of developments in medicine and to keep our colleagues informed.’
      • ‘In the meantime I want to keep you abreast of what's going on at this end.’
      • ‘To guide the students onto the right path, teachers need to keep themselves abreast of the emerging global trends.’
      • ‘The NBC needs to keep abreast of changes in this technologically charged and competitive environment.’
      • ‘Occasionally, I tune in to right wing talk radio to keep abreast of what the ‘dark side’ is up to.’
      • ‘I texted that Hebron woman to keep her abreast of my news.’
      • ‘There are lots of things I think police officers do in their own time to keep them abreast of developments inside and outside the service.’
      up to date with, up with, in touch with, informed about, familiar with, acquainted with, knowledgeable about, conversant with, au courant with, au fait with
      plugged into
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Late Middle English: from a- ‘in’+ breast.