Definition of breakthrough in US English:



  • 1A sudden, dramatic, and important discovery or development.

    ‘a major breakthrough in DNA research’
    • ‘It is true that not many major breakthroughs are achieved by mathematicians over the age of 40, but this may well be for sociological reasons.’
    • ‘Improvements in agronomy are likely to be more concerned with efficiency and elegance rather than in major breakthroughs.’
    • ‘New technologies can happen slowly, or sometimes there may be a major breakthrough.’
    • ‘Scientists at the University of York have made a major breakthrough in the fight against prostate cancer.’
    • ‘The panels have been chosen to represent major breakthroughs achieved by the CSIR in scientific research.’
    • ‘The exhibition contains material on two of his important breakthroughs.’
    • ‘Two recent major breakthroughs have revolutionized cattle-human comparative mapping.’
    • ‘They have already made major breakthroughs in the study of dark matter - the invisible material which scientists believe makes up most of the universe.’
    • ‘Just think about one of the most important breakthroughs in modern medicine.’
    • ‘The secret to the Pool Putter's success are two key breakthroughs discovered by Swedish engineer Leif Sundberg.’
    • ‘There will no more be any great breakthroughs or discoveries.’
    • ‘If Dr Wakefield has made such dramatic breakthroughs in his research into Crohn's disease, then why is it that these are not generally recognised?’
    • ‘With all those amazing new developments and breakthroughs, why haven't we cured this scourge?’
    • ‘The Museum is looking to host exhibitions that celebrate major technological breakthroughs and the people behind them.’
    • ‘Such research may someday lead to important medical breakthroughs.’
    • ‘It's also too rigid and does not fit companies searching for innovative breakthroughs.’
    • ‘Globalisation would not have happened without the breakthroughs achieved in the field of IT.’
    • ‘Many important medical breakthroughs in recent times have been a product of this mechanism.’
    • ‘There is every chance that Mickelson could discover a bus-like theory in his major breakthrough.’
    • ‘The prizes are intended to reward specific discoveries or breakthroughs, and the impact of these on the discipline.’
    advance, development, step forward, leap forward, quantum leap, step in the right direction, success, discovery, find, improvement, innovation, revolution
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 An instance of achieving success in a particular sphere or activity.
      as modifier ‘the band's breakthrough album’
      ‘her big breakthrough came on the stage when she won a Tony Award in 1958’
      • ‘Kuniyoshi achieved his commercial and artistic breakthrough in 1827 with the first 6 designs of the series The 108 heroes of the Suikoden.’
      • ‘Several years later, these handmade melodramas gave way to the seamless perfection of her breakthrough "Untitled Film Stills."’
      • ‘After the breakthrough best actor and actress wins by Denzel Washington and Halle Berry at this year's Academy Awards, Hollywood reveled in self-congratulation for its ostensible progressiveness.’
      • ‘It was a breakthrough series, setting trends for all comedy films to follow.’
      • ‘The breakthrough concept DVD is part of the company's 25th anniversary celebration for 2005.’
      • ‘This recent exhibition was the breakthrough show that many of her admirers had been anticipating for years.’
      • ‘While Jonze is batting two for two with his features, Gondry has yet to have his big movie breakthrough.’
      • ‘The artist's artistic breakthrough came in 1892, when she received a commission for a mural for the Woman's Building at the Chicago World's Fair.’
      • ‘The painting is equal to the height and more than the length of the figured arabesques in Jackson Pollock's breakthrough Mural, which Sleep also resembles in the handling of paint.’
      • ‘Kiyoshi Kurosawa's breakthrough film, Cure (1997) proved he knows horror better than the rest.’
      • ‘Released in 1971, the year after Altman's breakthrough film, M * A * S * H, McCabe & Mrs. Miller remains one of the key American movies of the era.’
      • ‘This was a breakthrough exhibition for conceptually minded Spencer Finch, whose quirky works incorporate science-related themes.’
      • ‘This breakthrough film fascinates on many levels.’
      • ‘His biggest breakthrough came in 1976 with the release of "Wanted!".’
      • ‘Owen plays Will Graham, who returns home to investigate the death of his brother (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) - a revisitation of Hodges' 1971 breakthrough Get Carter.’
      • ‘Just as he was about to make what, in retrospect, can be identified as his breakthrough, he detoured into a series of conceptual works involving photocopiers and fax machines.’
      • ‘But I think the real breakthrough film probably was Adrian Lyne's 1987 "Fatal Attraction," which presented Glenn Close as an attractive, but fiercely vengeful modern woman, paying a man back for loving her and leaving her.’
      • ‘This was a breakthrough exhibition for painter Greg Stone, who has long been a mainstay of the thriving arts community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.’
      • ‘New York's best showcase club over the last 30 years has featured breakthrough performances by Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, Dr. John, Sonny Rollins and many others as well as unique repertory performances.’
      • ‘The artist's breakthrough came in the 1950s.’