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 proposition would meet with fierce resistance from labor unions, which also oppose the breakup plan. Washington Post, "Why Eskom’s Power Crisis Is South Africa’s Top Risk," 18 Sep. 2019 Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth's breakup was one of the most talked-about celebrity news stories of the summer. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Liam Hemsworth Was Reportedly 'Blindsided' by Miley Cyrus' First Statement About Their Split," 16 Sep. 2019 Mykael Wright had three tackles with an interception and pass breakup. oregonlive, "Oregon Ducks cruise past Montana as injuries mount: Game at a glance," 15 Sep. 2019 After an acrimonious breakup, Mr. Zaremski created a fake Instagram account under the woman’s name and posted pictures of her wearing Nazi apparel, Mr. Mueller said. Michael Gold, New York Times, "Man With White Supremacist Material and Weapons Is Arrested, Police Say," 12 Sep. 2019 Then Brown’s breakup with the Raiders came after a spat with general manager Mike Mayock. Henry Mckenna, For The Win, "Tedy Bruschi lashes out at those comparing 'selfish' Antonio Brown to Randy Moss," 8 Sep. 2019 Free safety Tarvarius Moore had a huge fourth-quarter pass breakup on 4th-and-goal. Eric Branch,, "49ers’ game grades," 8 Sep. 2019 Only after an unfortunate breakup did these claims appear - claims that the misdemeanor hearing today revealed were backed by no photographs or objective medical facts. Michael Mccann,, "Could Rodions Kurucs' Arrest Lead to Immigration Implications for Nets Forward?," 4 Sep. 2019 Every collision, breakup or fragmentation creates additional debris. Deanna Paul, Anchorage Daily News, "Space: The final legal frontier," 1 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb But Gevani McCoy’s third-and-goal pass into the end zone was broken up by CdM junior cornerback Ryder Haupt. Matt Szabo, Daily Pilot, "Corona del Mar football routs Scott Meyer-led Lakewood," 13 Sep. 2019 This causes the moon to break up and spread along its original orbit, forming a ring. Vahe Peroomian, The Conversation, "A brief astronomical history of Saturn’s amazing rings," 14 Aug. 2019 Both narwhal and belugas mate in the spring, as the sea ice is breaking up. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "This Bizarre Whale Is a Beluga-Narwhal Hybrid," 20 June 2019 Most people would be surprised by how many inmates would volunteer for therapy if it was offered, just as a way to talk to someone and break up the monotony of the day, Curtis said. Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, "Art Impact Project kicks off pilot program at Lake County jail," 16 June 2019 No state troopers to stop an active shooter, no village police officers to break up family fights, not even untrained city or tribal cops to patrol the streets. Kyle Hopkins, ProPublica, "ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network," 16 May 2019 Add chicken, season with red pepper flakes and ½ tsp each salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up into very tiny pieces with a spoon until just cooked through, about 6 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Rigatoni with Chicken and Broccoli Bolognese," 29 Apr. 2019 The soup uses the last of the summer harvest — leeks, green beans, small potatoes, tomatoes — along with angel hair broken up and cooked in the broth near the end., "Provencal Vegetable Soup with Pistou (Soupe au Pistou)," 17 Sep. 2019 The band broke up in 1988 but Ocasek continued to work as a producer for bands such as Weezer, Guided by Voices and Bad Brains, ABC News reports. Cliff Pinckard, oregonlive, "Ric Ocasek, lead singer of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band the Cars, dies at age 75, reports say," 16 Sep. 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

26 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for breakup

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

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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

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).


not being in agreement or harmony

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