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 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 "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 abrupt appointment raised concerns that Miller was in place to be a Trump loyalist. Eric Tucker And Michael Balsamo, chicagotribune.com, "Defense secretary during Jan. 6 Capitol riots defends the Pentagon’s response to the chaos of the day," 11 May 2021 The exchange was so harsh and abrupt that party leaders implored them to stop. Craig Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A rich grocer, a low-budget underdog and a wild election swing. Lessons from Wisconsin's past frame '22 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate," 10 May 2021 On Twitter, China's ambassador to Afghanistan, Wang Yu, said the abrupt US announcement of a complete withdrawal of forces had led to a succession of attacks throughout the country. Reuters, CNN, "Death toll rises to 68 in Afghanistan girls' school bomb attack," 9 May 2021 But the pollen records showed an abrupt break from this cycle when the wet period returned about 86,000 years ago. Katarina Zimmer​, Scientific American, "People May Have Used Fire to Clear Forests More Than 80,000 Years Ago," 5 May 2021 Historically, abrupt Fed policy changes have at times set off recessions. New York Times, "Fed Officials Tamp Down Overheating Worries as Investors Fret," 5 May 2021 Longtime Linfield University trustee Ronni Lacroute, who endowed a Shakespeare studies chair to keep English professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner at the private college, resigned Sunday from the board in protest of his abrupt firing. oregonlive, "Longtime Linfield donor resigns from board, ‘appalled’ by firing of professor who held endowed chair in her name," 3 May 2021 In comparison with the music, the dance seemed busy and abrupt. Washington Post, "At Kennedy Center’s ‘Evening of Jazz and Dance,’ glimmers of renewal," 3 May 2021 Just moments earlier a successful season had come to an abrupt and shocking halt at the hands of No. 1 Faith Academy. al, "Helena baseball coach PJ Guy sets perfect example for team following tough series loss," 3 May 2021

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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Statistics for abrupt

Last Updated

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Abrupt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abrupt. Accessed 17 May. 2021.

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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

Comments on abrupt

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