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

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Other Words from abrupt

abruptness \ ə-​ˈbrəp(t)-​nəs How to pronounce abruptness (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 "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.

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web That same month, the Trump administration imposed temporary sanctions on Turkey amid the uproar over Erdogan's attacks on Kurds across the Syrian border, which followed Trump's abrupt decision to pull U.S. troops out of the region. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Justice Department says Bolton 'grossly mischaracterizes' Barr's take on Trump's talks with Xi, Erdogan," 28 Jan. 2020 First documented by Brittany Cox of Thought Catalog back in 2017, this phenomenon is a lot like ghosting, but without the abrupt disappearance. Erika W. Smith, refinery29.com, "Curving: Another Terrible Dating Trend," 29 Jan. 2020 Employee benefits had been overseen by Director of Benefits and Compensation Holly Woods until last Monday, when Woods was named interim HR chief after the abrupt resignation of Chief Talent Officer Douglas Dykes. Courtney Astolfi, cleveland, "Cuyahoga County docking pay of 100 workers after failing to accurately deduct their insurance premiums all of last year," 29 Jan. 2020 In addition, the island had already been experiencing a Zika outbreak, and storm damage brought its monitoring services to an abrupt halt. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, "How Medicare for All Could Help Fight Pandemics," 29 Jan. 2020 Engel said that Bolton in a Sept. 23 phone call recommended that his committee look into the recall of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, who had served as the top U.S. envoy to Ukraine before her abrupt recall last April. Washington Post, "GOP squirms as Bolton prepares to dish on Trump White House," 29 Jan. 2020 The abrupt transition left some investors initially uneasy about the company's future, and McDonald's stock sank the day after Easterbook left. Danielle Wiener-bronner, CNN, "After a tough few months for McDonald's, new CEO makes his public debut," 28 Jan. 2020 An observational chronicle of one seemingly ordinary day in the life of a seemingly ordinary sari salesman in the southern city of Coimbatore, the film's abrupt resolution casts everything that went before in a stark and moving new light. Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Nasir': Film Review | Rotterdam 2020," 27 Jan. 2020 The reason for the abrupt closures was not immediately provided. Jennifer Edwards Baker, Cincinnati.com, "2 area Bar Louie locations shut down this weekend," 27 Jan. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of abrupt

1565, 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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The first known use of abrupt was in 1565

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Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Abrupt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abrupt. Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on abrupt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for abrupt

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abrupt

Spanish Central: Translation of abrupt

Nglish: Translation of abrupt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abrupt for Arabic Speakers

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