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 Like, say, venturing to midtown in the hopes of transforming your appearance after your three-year relationship came to an abrupt end. Luna Adler, Glamour, 26 July 2022 The nation’s first experiment in feeding every public school student free of charge, launched to arrest a burgeoning child hunger crisis in 2020, will come to an abrupt end this summer. Laura Reiley, Washington Post, 20 July 2022 But those dreams came to an abrupt end after he was fatally shot June 27 after fleeing police during a traffic stop in Akron, Ohio. Minyvonne Burke, NBC News, 15 July 2022 Six Alabama softball players made headlines when opting for the NCAA transfer portal in the days after an abrupt end to the season. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, 28 June 2022 The Fed’s three-quarter%age point increase in its benchmark lending rate this week marked an abrupt end to more than four decades of falling, and ultimately near-zero, interest rates. David J. Lynch, Anchorage Daily News, 20 June 2022 And of the players who departed, none had a rich history with the franchise that came to an abrupt end. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 13 June 2022 Then, one weekend in March, the peace that had helped win Bukele wide support came to an abrupt end. Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2022 But the prospect of an abrupt end to Title 42, along with a large wave of border crossings that has occurred despite the public health order, turned the issue into an urgent matter of national debate. New York Times, 20 May 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

Learn More About abrupt

Listen to Our Podcast About abrupt

Dictionary Entries Near abrupt

abrotine

abrupt

abruption

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for abrupt

Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Abrupt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abrupt. Accessed 14 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!