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’
    • ‘Police were called after fighting broke out among a group of around 40 men.’
    • ‘Many fights and minor scuffles broke out among the crowd and when officers tried to calm the situation the mob turned hostile.’
    • ‘A violent fight broke out between the two groups of residents, with the brawl lasting for an hour and a half.’
    • ‘A fight broke out early on Saturday morning, in the car park of the club.’
    • ‘A fire breaks out suddenly in the house of the Empress, due to negligence of one of her maids.’
    • ‘Riot police moved in when fighting broke out between the two sets of supporters inside the stadium during the first 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.’
    • ‘I won't be at all surprised to find out that a fight broke out after I left.’
    • ‘She was crossing the road when gunfire broke out suddenly as a car drove by.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.’
      • ‘And why was a little touch of cold sweat breaking out across her palms all of a sudden… ‘Yes?’’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2Escape.

    ‘a prisoner broke out of his cell’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He broke out of jail and has been following me for the past three years.’
    • ‘While on remand at Winchester Prison in January he had tried to break out of his cell.’
    • ‘Yes, and once you're in the prison system it's very hard to break out of it.’
    • ‘Eventually convicted, he broke out of jail and formed the Stander Gang, which sometimes robbed four banks a day.’
    • ‘The man had been shot dead trying to break out of jail.’
    • ‘It was too narrow, executives decided, and would do little to help the company break out of the event marketing niche.’
    • ‘He had served only 15 months of his sentence when he broke out of prison in 1965.’
    • ‘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 comedy begins with two friends attempting 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’
    • ‘She was crossing the road when gunfire broke out suddenly as a car drove by.’
    • ‘A fight broke out early on Saturday morning, in the car park of the club.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Police were called after fighting broke out among a group of around 40 men.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Riot police moved in when fighting broke out between the two sets of supporters inside the stadium during the first half.’
    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.’