Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adverb Side by side.
  • adverb Up to date.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Side by side, with breasts in a line: as, “the riders rode abreast,” Dryden.
  • Nautical: Lying or moving side by side, with stems equally advanced. When used to indicate the situation of a vessel in regard to another object, opposite; over against; lying so that the object is on a line with the beam: in this sense with of.
  • Figuratively, up to the same pitch or level: used with of or with: as, to keep abreast of the times in science, etc. At the same time; simultaneously.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adverb Side by side, with breasts in a line.”
  • adverb (Naut.) Side by side; also, opposite; over against; on a line with the vessel's beam; -- with of.
  • adverb Up to a certain level or line; equally advanced.
  • adverb obsolete At the same time; simultaneously.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adverb obsolete : At the same time; simultaneously

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective being up to particular standard or level especially in being up to date in knowledge
  • adverb alongside each other, facing in the same direction

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English a ("on") + brest ("breast"), in sense “breasts (chests) in line, side-by-side and exactly equally advanced”; roughly “breast-by-breast”.

Examples

  • As they drew in abreast, Corry recognized him and halted the dogs.

    THE FAITH OF MEN

  • Can't a guy use the word abreast 2 : up to a particular standard or level especially of knowledge of recent developments without getting flogged?

    Hello/Goodbye

  • Ticketholders were lined up four abreast from the entrance gate in a line that stretched 400 yards to Washington Road, which borders part of the property.

    USATODAY.com - Four straight majors overwhelming, even for Tiger

  • But at that point, the picture began to change so rapidly that the symposium papers had to be revised for publication to remain abreast of international political developments.

    The Nobel Peace Prize: From Negotiations to Human Rights

  • Certainly, to remain abreast of the rest of the world we must make some progress.

    Politics in the Third Wave

  • After a long time, an hour or more, two other nurses marched in abreast like soldiers, with a great clumping of sabots, and knotted the corpse up in the sheets, but it was not removed till some time later.

    How the Poor Die

  • As they drew in abreast, Corry recognized him and halted the dogs.

    The Faith of Men

  • Finally all three dahabeeyahs ran in abreast, and moored side by side in front of a row of little open cafés just outside the town.

    A Thousand Miles Up the Nile

  • Admiral Ting formed his ships in line abreast, that is side by side with every bow towards the enemy.

    Famous Sea Fights From Salamis to Tsu-Shima

  • "I've seen lots of cyclists ride two abreast, which is a big no-no," he said.

    Auburn Journal - Top Stories

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