[ out-breyk ]
/ ˈaʊtˌbreɪk /


a sudden breaking out or occurrence; eruption: the outbreak of war.
a sudden and active manifestation: an outbreak of hives.
an outburst: an outbreak of temper.
an insurrection, revolt, or mutiny.
a public disturbance; riot.

Origin of outbreak

First recorded in 1595–1605; out- + break
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for outbreak

British Dictionary definitions for outbreak


/ (ˈaʊtˌbreɪk) /


a sudden, violent, or spontaneous occurrence, esp of disease or strife
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for outbreak



"eruption" (of disease, hostilities, etc.), c.1600, from out + break (v.). Outbreak was a verb in Middle English (c.1300).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper