From Middle English outbreken, oute-breken, from Old English ūtābrecan (“to break out”), equivalent to out- + break. Cognate with Saterland Frisian uutbreeke (“to break out; burst out”), West Frisian útbrekke (“to break out”), Dutch uitbreken (“to break out, burst out”), German ausbrechen (“to break out, erupt”).
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outbreak (plural outbreaks)
- An eruption, sudden appearance
- Any epidemic outbreak causes understandable panic
- A sudden increase.
- There has been an outbreak of vandalism at the school.
- An outburst or sudden eruption, especially of violence and mischief.
- There has been an outbreak of broken windows in the street.
- (uncountable) A geological layer that breaks out
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