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 breakthroughs

Contemporary Examples of breakthroughs

Historical Examples of breakthroughs

  • Breakthroughs between entries, except as hereinbefore provided, shall be made not exceeding sixty feet apart.

Word Origin and History for breakthroughs



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