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This is a part of an Wikipedia article about the Iranian Embassy siege in London:

"The SAS raid, televised live on a bank holiday evening, became a defining moment in British history and proved a career break for several journalists; it became the subject of multiple documentaries and works of fiction, including several films and television series."

"career break" a period of time during which one chooses not to work, typically in order to bring up one's children or pursue other interests. "I had taken a three-year career break to bring up my daughter"(source: Oxford Languages)

"break" 8. A sudden or marked change: a break in the weather. (source:American Heritage® Dictionary)

"break" 10. An often sudden piece of luck, especially good luck: finally got the big break in life.(source:American Heritage® Dictionary)

"career break" a period of time during which one chooses not to work, typically in order to bring up one's children or pursue other interests. "I had taken a three-year career break to bring up my daughter"

The first definition doesn't make sense to me as this would be a time to not go on a break from work but to write about the events in the embassy. The second one seems probable. Is any one of them correct?

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    I think the cited usage is klunky, because the collocation career break nearly always refers to the first definition given above. Much better to make the meaning crystal clear by referring to this "benefit" as a career breakthrough (that's a link to a lot of written instances that would never get conflated with career break). Aug 15, 2022 at 14:53

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In this context, it is closest to sense 10.: "An often sudden piece of luck, especially good luck"

In particular, to "get a break in one's career" means to get a sudden massive advancement in career due to one particular event. We often use it with actors who are relatively unknown until they have one huge starring role, then their career is set and they're famous forever.

In this case, it means several relatively unknown journalists became famous because of their reporting on this siege.

The expression applies equally to any kind of major career advancement, not just fame.

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  • Thank you. Is it the correct way of using it tough? Is "career break" proper English just like "break in one's career"? Aug 15, 2022 at 14:53
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    Yes, both forms are correct and natural.
    – gotube
    Aug 15, 2022 at 15:04
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Its just badly written. From the context it clearly means "a career boost", or a breakthrough moment in their careers. One does talk about "a lucky break" or " "a big break for their career(s)". But here the writer has confusingly used an idiom that means something quite different.

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    Yes. Still it could be "a big break for their career(s)", in my American English, to avoid that misleading mis-use. :) Aug 16, 2022 at 1:11

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