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

The reason is the abrupt retreat of the country’s... Jacquie Mcnish, WSJ, "Chinese Dispute Strikes Canada’s Canola Farmers," 16 Apr. 2019 All of which complicates a track already considered one of the most physically demanding and technically challenging courses of the season with its s-curves, tight corners and long straight with abrupt braking zones. Jim Vertuno, The Seattle Times, "Marquez again wins pole position at MotoGP in Austin," 13 Apr. 2019 The family beach day comes to an abrupt halt when Jason briefly ducks out of Adelaide’s eyesight, causing her to erupt into a panic. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "Us Offers a Terrifying Vision of Judgement Day," 26 Mar. 2019 The drop-off in foreign fund flows to emerging markets has been just as abrupt as during the taper tantrum, according to data from the IIF. Christopher Whittall, WSJ, "Emerging-Markets Selloffs: This One Is Different," 15 Oct. 2018 The change was abrupt: The first day, 18 women who had already scheduled the procedure were denied, the Tribune reported. Angie Leventis Lourgos, chicagotribune.com, "Woman who had tax-funded abortion says they 'help people in bad situations,' but critics decry public money for 'immoral act'," 25 June 2018 Trump’s final decision was abrupt, but doubts had been growing for several days, with indications all week that the North Koreans were operating in bad faith. Author: Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Josh Dawsey, Anchorage Daily News, "White House commitment to summit ended as spontaneously as it began," 25 May 2018 Here the land was less abrupt, the vineyards flowing down toward the lake in gentle slopes. Ray Isle, Smithsonian, "Your Next Favorite European Wine Region Isn’t in France, Italy or Spain," 23 May 2018 The end was abrupt, a tidy sweep at the hands of Detroit and captain Steve Yzerman, who now faces Washington again as the Lightning’s erudite general manager. Alex Prewitt, SI.com, "The Washington Capitals Busted Their Conference Finals Ghosts," 10 May 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near abrupt

abrood

abrotanum

abrotine

abrupt

abruption

abruptly

Abruzzi

Statistics for abrupt

Last Updated

26 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for abrupt

The first known use of abrupt was in 1565

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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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with abrupt

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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