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

As some of us know from television and others know from drunk-texting their colorist post-breakup, platinum hair tends to appear during a time of major personal shift. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," 5 Apr. 2019 McCubbin shares a personal anecdote about an impulse post-breakup purchase of a $400 pair of too-small jeans. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "This is What's Actually Keeping You From KonMari'ing Your House," 3 Apr. 2019 The duo has kept their romance low-key since then, but they've been spotted together around the world (from Spain, to Boston, to Mexico) and even survived breakup rumors. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Who Is Rihanna's Boyfriend, Hassan Jameel?," 22 Feb. 2019 Photo: Stephanie ASHLEY Heartache isn’t the only driver in post-breakup transformations. Hilary Potkewitz, WSJ, "How a Breakup Can Lead to a Fitness Breakthrough," 7 Jan. 2019 The two of them reportedly first started dating in November 2015, and ever since then it's been a rollercoaster of cute Instagram posts, soundbites, breakup rumors, and his-and-her Nutella jars. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik's Relationship: A Complete Timeline," 3 Jan. 2019 Breakup Fee Murdoch, 87, also wasn’t swayed by Comcast’s overtures partly because the cable company didn’t offer a breakup fee. Fortune, "Comcast Offers $65 Billion for Fox in Bidding War With Disney," 13 June 2018 If it's not wrapped up by then, either company could walk away, and AT&T would have to pay a $500 million breakup fee. Marcy Gordon And Mae Anderson, The Christian Science Monitor, "AT&T-Time Warner deal could open floodgates for megamergers," 13 June 2018 In addition, Comcast would pay the $2.5 billion breakup fee that Fox agreed to with Disney, as well as an additional $1.53 billion fee that would have been paid to Disney, bringing the offer total to $69.3 billion. Monique Judge, The Root, "Disney and Comcast Set to Go Into Bidding War Over 21st Century Fox," 13 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Beatrice Romo, a 39-year-old mother of five, stepped in Saturday night to break up a fight between two men at her niece’s baby shower in Riverside, California, police say. Don Sweeney, sacbee, "Mom of 5 tried to break up a fight at a baby shower. Her nephew shot her, cops say," 5 July 2018 Suter worked his way out of a two-on, nobody out jam in the second, allowing no damage, and was pulled after Max Kepler's sacrifice fly broke up the Brewers' shutout bid in the sixth. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Brewers 8, Twins 3: Jesús Aguilar's bat powers more road work," 18 May 2018 Callie and Arizona broke up years ago, following a heartbreaking struggle to stay together after Arizona cheated on Callie with a visiting doctor. Laura Bradley, HWD, "Grey’s Anatomy Said a Loving Goodbye to Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw," 18 May 2018 Work to break up the cubes with your hands untilthey are lightly coated with the flour mixture. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "The Hot and Hearty Pie Recipes to Kick Off Autumn in Your Kitchen," 21 Sep. 2018 Freedom from Facebook, an advocacy group, has called for the company to be broken up. Chris Ciaccia, Fox News, "Facebook continues to get hit, as teens leave in droves," 28 Aug. 2018 It’s hard for Jonathan Marsh, who’s in the business of caring for people, to break up with customers. Washington Post, "Hard to do: Businesses may need to break up with customers," 27 June 2018 Video of the couple out to dinner follows reports that Tristan and Khloé are still living together in Cleveland, and that there are no plans to break up. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Khloé Kardashian Spotted on First Date with Tristan Thompson Since Cheating Scandal," 5 May 2018 Lastly, gently fold the ingredients together so as not to break up the prized lumps of crab. Claire Perez,, "Exceptional crab cakes start with quality and quantity of the crustacean," 4 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

13 Apr 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 move or proceed with twists and turns

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