break·up | \ˈbrāk-ˌəp \

Definition of breakup 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of breaking up

2 : the breaking, melting, and loosening of ice in the spring

break up


Definition of break up (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to cease to exist as a unified whole : disperse their partnership broke up

b : to end a romance

2 : to lose morale, composure, or resolution especially : to become abandoned to laughter breaks up completely, laughing himself into a coughing fit — Gene Williams

transitive verb

1 : to break into pieces

2 : to bring to an end broke up the fight

3 : to do away with : destroy break up a monopoly

4 : to disrupt the continuity or flow of break up a dull routine

5 : decompose break up a chemical

6 : to cause to laugh heartily

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Examples of breakup in a Sentence


Money problems often lead to marital breakups. She's just gone through a bad breakup with her boyfriend. He began drinking heavily following the breakup of his marriage. a couple heading for marital breakup What caused the breakup of the Roman Empire? the breakup of a monopoly the breakup of an asteroid as it hits the Earth's atmosphere


the band broke up when their arguments over money grew too stressful the meeting broke up when all the business for the day had been completed
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

David’s first appearance post-breakup was via an Instagram photo that gave a cheeky nod to the fact that her ex boyfriend had just started dating one of the most famous pop stars in the world. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Why Be Engaged When You Can Be An Ex?," 13 July 2018 Brian Epstein's death led to the band's breakup John Lennon considered the death of Beatles' longtime manager Brian Epstein as the beginning of the end for the group. 12. John Harrington And Charles Stockdale, USA TODAY, "50 fascinating facts you may not know about The Beatles," 10 July 2018 The exact date of the inevitable breakup remains unknown. Alana Massey, Curbed, "How an unexpected Airbnb guest helped me get over a breakup," 22 June 2018 Those innovations — and the breakup of the Soviet Union — helped the U.S. narrow the gap, although Russia and Saudi Arabia both pumped more crude than the U.S. last year. David Koenig, Anchorage Daily News, "US soon to leapfrog Saudis, Russia as top oil producer," 12 July 2018 Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Russians have felt palpable insecurity about the country’s status as a global power. Anna Arutunyan, Time, "No Matter What Happens in Helsinki, Putin Has Already Won," 10 July 2018 If the breakup is mutual, the two sides may agree to a severance payment — but don’t have to, according to the document. Donna St. George, Washington Post, "The Prince George’s schools chief said he was quitting. So why is he still there?," 5 July 2018 Alejandra Juarez, the wife a Marine veteran in Davenport, is putting her faith in a rare legislative tactic in hopes of avoiding her scheduled Aug. 3 deportation to Mexico and the breakup of her family. Lisa Maria Garza,, "U.S. Rep. Darren Soto's longshot tactic aims to stall deportation of undocumented wife of Polk County Marine veteran," 28 June 2018 The government's effort to prosecute all border crossers has led to the breakup of migrant families and sent a new group of hundreds of young children into the government's care. NBC News, "Obama asks America to end family separation at border as Trump backs down," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

This deal is no accident: GE’s CEO John Flannery plans to sell off $20 billion worth of assets by the end of next year, and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of breaking up the entire business. Hallie Detrick, Fortune, "Why GE Is Selling Another Part of Its Business to a Private Equity Firm," 25 June 2018 Before breaking up in 2003, the group released one full-length, 47 Ursae Majoris (Johann's Face). Leor Galil, Chicago Reader, "Music / RIP RIP Chicago techno marvel and international cult figure Dan Jugle," 20 June 2018 And delaying life decisions, like breaking up or making a commitment, going back to school, or changing jobs can lead to running in place for years. Savvy Psychologist Ellen Hendriksen, Scientific American, "Why We Procrastinate, and 5 Ways to Stop," 20 June 2018 The signees of the letter also criticized Sessions for invoking Romans 13, a Bible verse, to justify the Trump administration policy of breaking up children and parents at the border. NBC News, "Over 600 United Methodist clergy, laity file church complaint against Sessions, a Methodist," 19 June 2018 The cutesy tone of the song is amplified by clever and light-hearted lyricism about breaking up in the social media age. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "BTS' 50 Best Songs: Critics' Picks," 12 June 2018 Some airlines have already inquired about components, and the company tasked with breaking up the aircraft will sell the pieces through its global network of spare parts, the CEO said. Tom Lavell,, "Two Unwanted A380s Are Moving Closer to the Scrapheap," 5 June 2018 Exciting news, Dawson's Creek fans! Pacey Witter is finally moving on from heartbreak. Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger dated for ten years, before breaking up in July 2016. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Joshua Jackson Has a New Girlfriend, Following News of Ex Diane Kruger's Pregnancy," 3 June 2018 In breaking up the parade the police were acting under city council orders which had decreed there would be no parade., "May 31, 1933: Memorial Day riot," 31 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'breakup.' 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 breakup


1794, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

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Statistics for breakup

Last Updated

28 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for breakup

The first known use of breakup was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for breakup



English Language Learners Definition of breakup

: the end of a relationship, marriage, etc.

: the separation of something into smaller parts or pieces

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