Definition of abrupt
- came to an abrupt stop
- an abrupt turn
- an abrupt decision to retire
- She has an abrupt manner.
- an abrupt reply
- an abrupt transition
- abrupt hills
- a high abrupt bank bounded the stream
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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.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abrupt.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
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.
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