from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A sudden increase: an outbreak of influenza.
  • n. A sudden eruption; an outburst: "an outbreak of strikes, violent agitation, and arrests” ( Samuel Chew).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An eruption, sudden appearance
  • n. A sudden increase.
  • n. An outburst or sudden eruption, especially of violence and mischief.
  • n. An uproar, riot
  • n. A geological layer that breaks out
  • v. To burst out
  • v. To break forth

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A bursting forth; eruption; insurrection; mutiny; revolt.
  • n. A sudden beginning of a violent event.
  • n. A sudden occurrence or manifestation; -- usually of disease or emotion, in one person or a group.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A breaking out; an outburst; a sudden and violent manifestation: as, an outbreak of fever; an outbreak of popular indignation.
  • n. A rupture of the peace; a public disturbance or riot.
  • To break or burst forth.

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

  • n. a sudden violent spontaneous occurrence (usually of some undesirable condition)


From Middle English *utbreken, from Old English ūtābrecan ("to break out"), equivalent to out- +‎ break. Cognate with Dutch uitbreken ("to break out, burst out"), German ausbrechen ("to break out, erupt"). (Wiktionary)



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