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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A violent fight broke out between the two groups of residents, with the brawl lasting for an hour and a half.’
    • ‘She was crossing the road when gunfire broke out suddenly as a car drove by.’
    • ‘Riot police moved in when fighting broke out between the two sets of supporters inside the stadium during the first half.’
    • ‘Many fights and minor scuffles broke out among the crowd and when officers tried to calm the situation the mob turned hostile.’
    • ‘Police were called after fighting broke out among a group of around 40 men.’
    • ‘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 fire breaks out suddenly in the house of the Empress, due to negligence of one of her maids.’
    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.’
      • ‘A flush feeling came over my face as though I had suddenly broken out into a cold sweat.’
      • ‘You may suddenly break out into a sweat with cold, clammy skin.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘The comedy begins with two friends attempting to break out of jail.’
    • ‘Eventually convicted, he broke out of jail and formed the Stander Gang, which sometimes robbed four banks a day.’
    • ‘He had served only 15 months of his sentence when he broke out of prison in 1965.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He broke out of jail and has been following me for the past three years.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘While on remand at Winchester Prison in January he had tried to break out of his cell.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The man had been shot dead trying to break out of jail.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Police were called after fighting broke out among a group of around 40 men.’
    • ‘A fire breaks out suddenly in the house of the Empress, due to negligence of one of her maids.’
    • ‘Many fights and minor scuffles broke out among the crowd and when officers tried to calm the situation the mob turned hostile.’
    • ‘I won't be at all surprised to find out that a fight broke out after I left.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A fight broke out early on Saturday morning, in the car park of the club.’
    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’
      • ‘You may suddenly break out into a sweat with cold, clammy skin.’
      • ‘A sudden chill went down his spine, and sweat broke out on his hands and face.’
      • ‘And why was a little touch of cold sweat breaking out across her palms all of a sudden… ‘Yes?’’
      • ‘A flush feeling came over my face as though I had suddenly broken out into a cold sweat.’