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

Noun 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 Verb 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 That may be because the companies’ influence with regulators is too strong to allow a breakup. Ellen Milligan,, "Wirecard Exposes Big 4 Accounting Lapses Endure Post-Enron," 1 July 2020 Benedictine and Hoban also renew their rivalry, despite the NCL breakup. Matt Goul, cleveland, "Week-by-week 2020 high school football schedule: What this season could look like," 29 June 2020 Your previous breakup lasted for several years, and your sons were in the picture during that period. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Husband serves time for the sake of the kids," 29 June 2020 Asbury cited uncertainty caused by a global pandemic for the breakup. Dom Difurio, Dallas News, "Park Place rehiring some workers after laying off 20% amid coronavirus pandemic," 24 June 2020 Her breakup from Robert Pattinson—complete with its own infidelity scandal—is still talked about seven years later. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, "Kristen Stewart Will Play Princess Diana in a New Movie—And Honestly, That’s Perfect," 17 June 2020 The breakup may just be rumoured, but the facial hair is definitely the real thing. Sarah Midkiff,, "Cole Sprouse Looks So Different After Rumoured Lili Reinhart Split," 26 May 2020 From schools to workplaces, we are told that ordinary negative emotions and experiences—fear of failure, or sadness over a breakup, maybe—should be treated or eliminated. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, "Negative Emotions Are a Necessary Part of a Good Life," 18 June 2020 No romantic breakup, before or since, has hit me half as hard. Laurie Penny, Wired, "Live Wrong and Prosper: Covid-19 and the Future of Families," 18 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The majority of the country (53%) isn't ready to see the federal government break up a big tech firm. Lance Lambert, Fortune, "The DoJ may bring an antitrust suit against Google. But are Americans ready to break up Big Tech?," 6 July 2020 In 2018, a Portland State University police officer shot and killed a Black father of three named Jason Washington, who was trying to break up a bar fight off campus. Stephanie Hanes, The Christian Science Monitor, "If police on campus have guns, is college more safe?," 2 July 2020 As officers tried to break up the crowd, several people started throwing objects at them. Fox News, "NYPD searching for man seen throwing glass bottle at cop car after police respond to shots fired reports," 29 June 2020 Citizens cited aspects of McMurray's lengthy presentation to the city council last week in defending actions police took to break up the protests. Paul Gattis |, al, "Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle seeking ‘way forward’ for police after protests, use of tear gas," 26 June 2020 An insulation failure allowed hot gas to get into the second stage, causing the rocket to break up. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, "An Italian-made rocket faces a big test on Thursday night," 17 June 2020 In 1985, Gary Barbour, a white Portland officer, grabbed Lloyd D. Stevenson around the neck while trying to break up a disturbance in a parking lot. oregonlive, "Portland banned police chokeholds 35 years ago after death, public outcry; the controversial restraint method still occurs," 17 June 2020 In the latest twist, a U.S. judge on Friday ordered Seattle police to temporarily stop using tear gas, pepper spray and flash-bang devices to break up largely peaceful protests. Chris Grygiel, Anchorage Daily News, "Q&A: What’s next for Seattle protesters’ ‘autonomous zone’?," 13 June 2020 In a move that could keep the CHAZ active, a federal judge Friday ordered Seattle to temporarily stop using tear gas, pepper spray and flash bang devices to break up peaceful protests. Editors, USA TODAY, "George Floyd protests, SpaceX Starlink mission, West Point graduation: 5 things to know this weekend," 13 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for breakup

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for breakup

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Breakup.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for breakup


How to pronounce break up (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for breakup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with breakup

Spanish Central: Translation of breakup

Nglish: Translation of breakup for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breakup for Arabic Speakers

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