Definition of break out in US English:

break out

phrasal verb

  • 1(of war, fighting, or similarly undesirable things) start suddenly.

    ‘forest fires have broken out across Indonesia’
    • ‘A fight broke out early on Saturday morning, in the car park of the club.’
    • ‘A violent fight broke out between the two groups of residents, with the brawl lasting for an hour and a half.’
    • ‘When war broke out he willingly fought for Britain, and before being sent to France he adopted a British name so that he would not be shot as a traitor if captured.’
    • ‘I won't be at all surprised to find out that a fight broke out after I left.’
    • ‘A fire breaks out suddenly in the house of the Empress, due to negligence of one of her maids.’
    • ‘Police were called after fighting broke out among a group of around 40 men.’
    • ‘Riot police moved in when fighting broke out between the two sets of supporters inside the stadium during the first half.’
    • ‘She was crossing the road when gunfire broke out suddenly as a car drove by.’
    • ‘Many fights and minor scuffles broke out among the crowd and when officers tried to calm the situation the mob turned hostile.’
    • ‘The incident happened after a fight broke out between a group of up to six youngsters in the school's playground at about 8.45 am.’
    flare up, begin suddenly, start suddenly, erupt, burst out, blow up, set in
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a physical discomfort) suddenly manifest itself.
      ‘prickles of sweat had broken out along her backbone’
      • ‘A sudden chill went down his spine, and sweat broke out on his hands and face.’
      • ‘You may suddenly break out into a sweat with cold, clammy skin.’
      • ‘A flush feeling came over my face as though I had suddenly broken out into a cold sweat.’
      • ‘And why was a little touch of cold sweat breaking out across her palms all of a sudden… ‘Yes?’’
  • 2Escape.

    ‘a prisoner broke out of his cell’
    • ‘While on remand at Winchester Prison in January he had tried to break out of his cell.’
    • ‘He had served only 15 months of his sentence when he broke out of prison in 1965.’
    • ‘He broke out of jail and has been following me for the past three years.’
    • ‘The man had been shot dead trying to break out of jail.’
    • ‘Should they manage to escape, they are to be pursued as dangerous fugitives and charged in the same way as convicts who break out of high security jails.’
    • ‘Eventually convicted, he broke out of jail and formed the Stander Gang, which sometimes robbed four banks a day.’
    • ‘The comedy begins with two friends attempting to break out of jail.’
    • ‘He invites us to break out of the confinements of academic art and art history in order to open our eyes a little wider and take a glimpse at what is a far greater vision.’
    • ‘Yes, and once you're in the prison system it's very hard to break out of it.’
    • ‘It was too narrow, executives decided, and would do little to help the company break out of the event marketing niche.’
    escape from, make one's escape from, break loose from, burst out of, abscond from, flee from
    View synonyms

phrasal verb

  • 1(of war, fighting, or similarly undesirable things) start suddenly.

    ‘forest fires have broken out across Indonesia’
    • ‘Police were called after fighting broke out among a group of around 40 men.’
    • ‘Riot police moved in when fighting broke out between the two sets of supporters inside the stadium during the first half.’
    • ‘A fight broke out early on Saturday morning, in the car park of the club.’
    • ‘When war broke out he willingly fought for Britain, and before being sent to France he adopted a British name so that he would not be shot as a traitor if captured.’
    • ‘I won't be at all surprised to find out that a fight broke out after I left.’
    • ‘A violent fight broke out between the two groups of residents, with the brawl lasting for an hour and a half.’
    • ‘The incident happened after a fight broke out between a group of up to six youngsters in the school's playground at about 8.45 am.’
    • ‘Many fights and minor scuffles broke out among the crowd and when officers tried to calm the situation the mob turned hostile.’
    • ‘A fire breaks out suddenly in the house of the Empress, due to negligence of one of her maids.’
    • ‘She was crossing the road when gunfire broke out suddenly as a car drove by.’
    flare up, begin suddenly, start suddenly, erupt, burst out, blow up, set in
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a physical discomfort) suddenly manifest itself.
      ‘prickles of sweat had broken out along her backbone’
      • ‘A sudden chill went down his spine, and sweat broke out on his hands and face.’
      • ‘You may suddenly break out into a sweat with cold, clammy skin.’
      • ‘A flush feeling came over my face as though I had suddenly broken out into a cold sweat.’
      • ‘And why was a little touch of cold sweat breaking out across her palms all of a sudden… ‘Yes?’’