adjective \ə-ˈbrəpt\

Definition of abrupt

  1. 1a :  characterized by or involving action or change without preparation or warning :  sudden and unexpected came to an abrupt stop an abrupt turn an abrupt decision to retireb :  rudely or unceremoniously curt She has an abrupt manner. an abrupt replyc :  lacking smoothness or continuity an abrupt transition

  2. 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


play \ə-ˈbrəp(t)-lē\ adverb ended the meeting abruptly


play \ə-ˈbrəp(t)-nəs\ noun

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Examples of abrupt in a sentence

  1. There was an abrupt change in the weather.

  2. The road came to an abrupt end.

  3. The storm caused an abrupt power failure.

  4. 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 and Etymology of abrupt

Latin abruptus, from past participle of abrumpere to break off, from ab- + rumpere to break — more at reave

First Known Use: 1565

Synonym Discussion of abrupt

precipitate, headlong, abrupt, impetuous, sudden mean showing undue haste or unexpectedness. precipitate stresses lack of due deliberation and implies prematureness of action the army's precipitate withdrawal. headlong stresses rashness and lack of forethought a headlong flight from arrest. abrupt stresses curtness and a lack of warning or ceremony an abrupt refusal. impetuous stresses extreme impatience or impulsiveness an impetuous lover proposing marriage. sudden stresses unexpectedness and sharpness or violence of action flew into a sudden rage.

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


adjective \ə-ˈbrəpt\

Definition of abrupt for Students

  1. 1 :  happening without warning :  sudden The meeting came to an abrupt end.

  2. 2 :  1steep 1 an abrupt drop

  3. 3 :  rudely brief an abrupt reply





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capable of being understood in two ways

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