a military movement or advance all the way through and beyond an enemy's front-line defense.
an act or instance of removing or surpassing an obstruction or restriction; the overcoming of a stalemate: The president reported a breakthrough in the treaty negotiations.
any significant or sudden advance, development, achievement, or increase, as in scientific knowledge or diplomacy, that removes a barrier to progress: The jet engine was a major breakthrough in air transport.


constituting a breakthrough: engineered with breakthrough technology; Critics called it a breakthrough film.

Origin of breakthrough

First recorded in 1915–20; noun use of verb phrase break through Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for breakthrough

Contemporary Examples of breakthrough

Historical Examples of breakthrough

  • I get eight hundred for selling you the ticket on the breakthrough time.

    Second Sight

    Basil Eugene Wells

  • He called it a breakthrough in the field of perpetual motion.

    With No Strings Attached

    Gordon Randall Garrett (AKA David Gordon)

  • Nevertheless, the two scientists were jubilant at this first breakthrough.

  • But now, with this money from the breakthrough pool, he could rent a super mech—live as a man should live!

    Second Sight

    Basil Eugene Wells

  • That was the day when an old acquaintance from the lower levels sold him the chance on the 80th Level's breakthrough.

    Second Sight

    Basil Eugene Wells

Word Origin and History for breakthrough

1918, in a military sense, from break (v.) + through (adv.). The verbal phrase is attested from c.1400. Meaning "abrupt solution or progress" is from 1930s, on the notion of a successful attack.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper