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

Text messages showed that Conway and the student had broken up, the Chronicle reported. Crystal Hill, miamiherald, "Teacher filed harassment complaint — against the student she had sex with, Ohio cops say | Miami Herald," 26 Apr. 2018 One study published in 2013 showed almost half of young people aged 17 to 24 were breaking up and reconciling with exes. Jenna Birch,, "You've Already Broken Up Once—Here’s How to Know if the Relationship Can Really Work," 10 July 2018 Investigators say Priestley had recently broken up with Table, kicking him out of, and changing the locks to, her apartment in the Bucks County township. Vinny Vella,, "Bucks woman found dead after calling 911 to say boyfriend was going to kill her," 9 July 2018 People on Twitter demanded Byrd break up with Wilt because of his bizarre Kit Kat-eating method. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "Man slammed by internet for eating Kit Kat 'wrong' proposes to girlfriend with Kit Kat-shaped box," 9 July 2018 Seeming to indirectly confirm that Holmes and Foxx are, in fact, dating, Holmes's rep shoots down a story which claims that the actors have broken up. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Complete Timeline of Katie Holmes and Jamie Foxx’s Rumored Relationship," 1 July 2018 The way the workshop functioned was that participants were broken up into groups of four to six people. Maria L. La Ganga, idahostatesman, "Memo to Mayor Bieter: Your growth-roundtable participants love Boise, not City Hall," 21 June 2018 The song is sung from the point of view of a woman who's been cheated on and is breaking up with her partner; in the clip, Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles plays that woman, actor Brandon Routh plays her partner, and Swift plays his mistress. Andrea Park, Allure, "Taylor Swift Has Red Hair Now and She Looks Totally Different," 7 June 2018 Lembo also asked whether the agenda could be broken up in the future so members did not need to cast a single vote on 16 companies and could instead vote against some grants. Christopher Keating,, "State Approves $80 Million In Economic Aid For 16 Companies," 1 June 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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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).


evasion of direct action or statement

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