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Over 700 finance terms, Shmooped to perfection.
It can refer to that thing that ruins your Saturday night date and makes you wish for darkness and Oxy 10. But it also refers to a stock which has "broken out" of its expected trading pattern. If a stock suddenly jumps up in price (or tanks) after chugging along steadily, it's a breakout.
A stock traded in a very flat U shaped pattern for the last 10 months between $17 and $19; then, suddenly with their recent earnings announcement, the stock's first print at 9:30AM is $26. The new pattern created from that $26 is a break out.