abrupt

adjective
\ ə-ˈbrəpt How to pronounce abrupt (audio) \

Definition of abrupt

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 retire
b : rudely or unceremoniously curt She has an abrupt manner. an abrupt reply
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

Other Words from abrupt

abruptness \ ə-​ˈbrəp(t)-​nəs How to pronounce abrupt (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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 "to 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 temperature 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.

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.
Recent Examples on the Web In Britain’s archaeological record, the transition from hunter-gatherer culture to early farming culture is abrupt. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, 4 May 2022 But when a conviction is overturned, freedom can be abrupt for those set loose with little support. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 30 Apr. 2022 The downswing was abrupt, and frustrations set in, even among players. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 Apr. 2022 Shauna Marshall, who taught Maya Harris, the vice president’s younger sibling, at Stanford Law, said the transition was likely especially abrupt for Harris. Melanie Masonstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2022 The timing of the summits was abrupt, leaving some European officials doubtful anything could possibly come from talks without the usual time to prepare. Kevin Liptak, CNN, 27 Mar. 2022 The company planned to open another 16 4-Stars locations, indicating the decision to shutter the operation was abrupt. Fortune, 3 Mar. 2022 For Ellen Schiller’s chain of three, the end was a bit more abrupt. New York Times, 29 Jan. 2022 The transitions from light to dark in the matador’s face and stockings, for instance, is abrupt to the point of coarseness. Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of abrupt

1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for abrupt

borrowed from Latin abruptus "steep, sheer, broken or cut off too short," from past participle of abrumpere "to break, rupture, break off short," from ab- ab- + rumpere "to cause to break or burst," going back to Indo-European *ru-n-p-, nasal present formation from the base *reu̯p- "break, tear" — more at reave

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Dictionary Entries Near abrupt

abrotine

abrupt

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Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Abrupt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abrupt. Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for abrupt

abrupt

adjective
\ ə-ˈbrəpt How to pronounce abrupt (audio) \

Kids Definition of abrupt

1 : happening without warning : sudden The meeting came to an abrupt end.
2 : steep entry 1 sense 1 an abrupt drop
3 : rudely brief an abrupt reply

Other Words from abrupt

abruptly adverb
abruptness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on abrupt

Nglish: Translation of abrupt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abrupt for Arabic Speakers

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