Simple Definition of abrupt
: very sudden and not expected
: talking to other people in a very brief and unfriendly way
: rudely brief
Full Definition of abrupt
1 a : characterized by or involving action or change without preparation or warning : unexpected <came to an abrupt stop> <an abrupt turn> <an abrupt decision to retire> b : unceremoniously curt <an abrupt manner> c : lacking smoothness or continuity <an abrupt transition>
2 : giving the impression of being cut or broken off; especially : involving a sudden steep rise or drop <abrupt hills> <a high abrupt bank bounded the stream>
Examples of abrupt in a sentence
There was an abrupt change in the weather.
The road came to an abrupt end.
The storm caused an abrupt power failure.
She has an abrupt manner.
Did You Know?
We’ll break it to you gently: abrupt derives from "abruptus," the past participle of the Latin verb abrumpere, meaning "to break off." "Abrumpere" combines the prefix ab- with "rumpere," which means "break" and which forms the basis for several other words in English that suggest a kind of breaking, such as "interrupt," "rupture," and "bankrupt." Whether being used to describe a style of speaking that seems rudely short (as in "gave an abrupt answer"), something with a severe rise or drop ("abrupt climate change"), or something that seems rash and unprecipitated ("made the abrupt decision to quit college"), "abrupt," which first appeared in English in the 16th century, implies a kind of jarring unexpectedness that catches people off guard.
Origin of abrupt
Latin abruptus, from past participle of abrumpere to break off, from ab- + rumpere to break — more at reave
First Known Use: 1530
Synonym Discussion of abrupt
steep, abrupt, precipitous, sheer mean having an incline approaching the perpendicular. steep implies such sharpness of pitch that ascent or descent is very difficult <a steep hill> <a steep dive>. abrupt implies a sharper pitch and a sudden break in the level <a beach with an abrupt drop-off>. precipitous applies to an incline approaching the vertical <the river winds through a precipitous gorge>. sheer suggests an unbroken perpendicular expanse <sheer cliffs that daunted the climbers>.
ABRUPT Defined for Kids
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