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1. verb Literally, to escape from a place or thing (often prison). The criminal broke out of prison but was captured less than a mile away.
2. verb By extension, to move away or separate from someone or something. I'm starting to break out from the religious tradition I was raised in.
3. verb To suddenly experience skin irritation, typically pimples or hives. I'm sorry I'm late—I'm breaking out right now, so I had to spend extra time concealing all of my zits! I can't believe I'm breaking out the day before my wedding!
4. verb To suddenly perform a particular action. My mother seemed fine this morning, but she did break out crying at the funeral.
5. verb To occur unexpectedly and intensely. We knew it was time to leave the club when a fight broke out between guys at the bar. We were enjoying a nice walk when a storm broke out and forced us to run back home.
6. verb, slang To leave a particular place. We knew it was time to break out when some guys at the bar started fighting.
7. verb To present something for use, especially something that had been stored out of sight or concealed. Break out the champagne—we've got an engagement to celebrate! I dove under the counter when the robber broke out a gun.
8. verb To highlight just one portion or section of something. Can you break out your department's spending for only the last three months?
9. adjective Standout; attracting attention and accolades, especially for the first time. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word. I had never heard of that actress before her breakout role in the award-winning movie.
10. noun The sudden appearance of skin irritation, typically pimples or hives. In this usage, the phrase is usually written as one word. I'm sorry I'm late—I woke up to a breakout, so I had to spend extra time concealing all of my zits! I can't believe I have a breakout the day before my wedding!
break something out (of something)
to remove something from something else by force. Carefully, she broke the gemstone out of the side of the rock face. She broke the gemstone out carefully.
break out (in pimples)
to erupt with something such as a rash, a cold sweat, or pimples. After being in the woods, I broke out in a rash. I think it's poison ivy. I hate to break out like that. Whenever I eat chocolate, I break out in pimples the next day.
break out (with a rash)
[for the skin] to erupt with pimples, hives, or lesions, from a specific disease such as measles, chicken pox, rubella, etc. Nick and Dan broke out with chicken pox. They both broke out at the same time.
break out(of something)
1. Lit. to escape from something, often by destructive means, especially from prison. The convicts plotted to break out of prison. You don't have the guts to break out of jail!
2. Fig. to escape from something in one's life that is too confining. I was 16 years old when I finally broke out of my rigid upbringing. She just couldn't break out of her old patterns of behavior.
1. to burst forth suddenly, as with a fire, a riot, giggling, shouting, etc. A fire broke out in the belfry. A round of giggling broke out when the teacher tripped.
2. Sl. to leave. It's late, man. Time to break out. We broke out a little after midnight.
3. Go to break out (in pimples); break out (of something); break out (with something).
1. Develop suddenly and forcefully. For example, A fire broke out last night, or He broke out in a sweat. [a.d. 1000]
2. Be affected with a skin eruption, such as a rash or boils, as in A teenager's face often breaks out in pimples. [c. 1300]
3. Prepare something for consumption, action, or use, as in Let's break out the champagne, or It's such a fine day-let's break out the fishing rods. [Early 1800s]
4. break out of. Force out by breaking; also, escape from confinement. For example, The hurricane broke the glass out of all the windows, or He broke out of prison but was soon apprehended. [Early 1600s]
5. Isolate a portion of a body of data, as in Please break out the sales figures from the quarterly report. [Mid-1900s]
1. To escape confinement: The prisoners dug a tunnel under the prison walls and broke out. He broke out from jail but was immediately caught.
2. To aid something or someone in escaping confinement: The gangsters broke their comrade out of jail.
3. To develop suddenly and forcefully; erupt: Fighting broke out in the street when the two gangs came together.
4. To start doing something suddenly or spontaneously: We were quietly eating dinner when suddenly the kids broke out laughing. The marching soldiers broke out in song.
5. To bring something forth: The enemy is attacking; break out the rifles! Let's break out the champagne and celebrate.
6. To become affected with pimples, hives, acne, or similar skin rash: Wash your face well in the evening or you'll break out. I accidentally walked through poison ivy and broke out in a bad rash.
in. to leave. It’s late, man. Time to break out.