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

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 Even if the initiative passes, California’s breakup is no sure thing. John Wildermuth, San Francisco Chronicle, "Measure to split California into three states qualifies for November ballot," 12 June 2018 The aftermath of splitting up with a partner can have lasting psychological effects, even if in the long run, the breakup was the right step. Blake Bakkila,, "9 Times Celebrities Got Candid About Divorce," 30 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The Sun’s article was published just as a lavish black-tie dinner that Mrs. May was hosting for Mr. Trump and the first lady, Melania Trump, at Blenheim Palace was breaking up, and guests in formal gowns and tuxedos were leaving the estate. New York Times, "As May’s Government Teeters Over Brexit, Trump Gives It a Shove," 12 July 2018 And then they got broken up, or they got hit by a monopoly, and then everything flowered again. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Box CEO Aaron Levie on Recode Decode," 11 July 2018 The small aluminum boat that initially carried 14 people from Cuba, including his mother, broke up and took on water. Monique O. Madan, miamiherald, "New Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh has ties to big Florida moments," 9 July 2018 Tiles have broken loose, and the grout between them is breaking up, said Jennifer Yribar, the department’s outreach and education coordinator. Sven Berg, The Seattle Times, "Heat, water and trucks are destroying a Boise mosaic," 9 July 2018 Hill was right with Lewis' pace as a sophomore last season, as the former King prospect picked off two passes, broke up seven more and notched five tackles for loss in a stellar year as a first-time starter. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football's Lavert Hill, David Long anchor talented secondary," 30 June 2018 No matter how prepared David is, break ups are always hard — especially when all websites can talk about is your ex's new girlfriend. Kathryn Lindsay,, "The Cazzie David Guide To Getting Over Your Ex," 12 June 2018 In this demo, we were tasked with breaking up two specific crimes and killing time between those by using spidey sense to toggle a litany of waypoints. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Spider-Man PS4 hands-on: Saving giant virtual NYC has never felt so awesome," 12 June 2018 Moss added nine break ups to go along with two interceptions. Iliana Limón Romero,, "South Alabama is No. 99 in 2018 preseason college football rankings," 20 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

14 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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Comments on breakup

What made you want to look up breakup? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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