break·​up | \ ˈbrāk-ˌəp How to pronounce breakup (audio) \

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

broke up; broken up; breaking up; breaks 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

Paul McCartney announces the breakup of the Beatles. William Harwood, CBS News, "The path to Apollo 11: A timeline of the space race to land on the moon," 15 July 2019 For decades after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan’s leaders have tried to juggle relationships with the West along with ties to their old paymasters in Moscow. Thomas Grove, WSJ, "A Spy Case Exposes China’s Power Play in Central Asia," 10 July 2019 Over a turbulent 12 months, Ariana Grande survived a suicide bombing at her Manchester, England concert that killed 22 people and the breakup of her two-year relationship with troubled rapper Mac Miller. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Ariana Grande on love with Pete Davidson after losing Mac Miller: ‘It was an amazing distraction’," 9 July 2019 A few days before that, one of Facebook’s co-founders had called for the breakup of the company. Katy Steinmetz, Time, "Inside Instagram's War on Bullying," 8 July 2019 The Beatles bass guitarist and singer married Linda Eastman back in 1969 and eventually formed the band Wings together, two years later after the breakup of the Beatles. Matt Mcnulty,, "Paul McCartney 'Cried for a Year' After Wife Linda's Death: 'It Seemed the Only Thing to Do'," 5 July 2019 But Jordyn is not to be blamed for the breakup of my family. Tess Garcia, Teen Vogue, "Khloé Kardashian Says She Doesn't Watch "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" Episodes About Jordyn/Tristan Cheating Scandal," 30 June 2019 His father, Garret, told The Associated Press the 23-year-old took up skydiving a few years ago as a distraction from the breakup of a relationship., "Marylander was among 11 who died in Hawaii crash; safety agency calls for tighter skydiving flight rules," 25 June 2019 The breakup of Pangea was essentially the first step in the creation of the modern world. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Pangea Gave Us Modern Oceans," 10 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Fluff the couscous with a fork, breaking up any large clumps, then stir in the herb paste until thoroughly combined. Christopher Kimball,, "Recipes: Three new ways to love grains," 9 July 2019 Disneyland security arrives shortly after and breaks up the fight, the video shows. Hannah Fry,, "Video shows violent family fight at Disneyland as stunned parkgoers try to intervene," 8 July 2019 As the crowd broke up Sunday night, a few hundred remained and taunted police who had retreated behind huge barriers set up outside the railway station, while others moved to Canton Road, a street lined with luxury boutique stores. Washington Post, "Tens of thousands in Hong Kong take message to mainlanders," 8 July 2019 Business filings show Klemm created Flipping Exes LLC in 2015 after her break up with LeSure. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "The 'Flipping Exes' baggage Bravo's not talking about: Bankruptcy, lawsuits, late taxes," 8 July 2019 July and August are when all these old bodies start warming up and breaking up all those little things that are going on. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Giants head into All-Star break on a roll after Samardzija, Longoria key narrow win," 7 July 2019 Surely, a midfield anchor should be just that, a man who sits deep and breaks up players., "Rodri: Statistically the Perfect Midfielder for Pep Guardiola and Manchester City," 4 July 2019 Jancy fans rejoiced when Nancy broke up with Steve in Season 2 and embarked on a road trip with Jonathan. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Happened in Season 2 of Stranger Things?," 3 July 2019 On Monday, critics blamed police for not acting more quickly to break up the attacks., "Bloody clashes in downtown Portland put police, mayor on defensive," 1 July 2019

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

20 Jul 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on breakup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with breakup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for breakup

Spanish Central: Translation of breakup

Nglish: Translation of breakup for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breakup for Arabic Speakers

Comments on breakup

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to complain fretfully

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