1 of 2


break·​up ˈbrāk-ˌəp How to pronounce breakup (audio)
: an act or instance of breaking up
: the breaking, melting, and loosening of ice in the spring

break up

2 of 2


broke up; broken up; breaking up; breaks up

intransitive verb

: to cease to exist as a unified whole : disperse
their partnership broke up
: to end a romance
: 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

: to break into pieces
: to bring to an end
broke up the fight
: to do away with : destroy
break up a monopoly
: to disrupt the continuity or flow of
break up a dull routine
: decompose
break up a chemical
: to cause to laugh heartily

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
Recent Examples on the Web
The songs on the new album are actually the gathering storm clouds: All were written before the breakup. Nancy Kruh, Peoplemag, 16 Apr. 2024 Because of this, many fans may have projected their own hopes and aspirations onto Turner and Nist, which can make their breakup news feel devastating. USA TODAY, 16 Apr. 2024 But Webster is reluctant to call it a breakup record. Dani Blum, San Diego Union-Tribune, 14 Apr. 2024 The relationship, which started in 2017, ended with a quiet breakup in 2020. Elizabeth Ayoola, Essence, 9 Apr. 2024 Former Cal cornerback Jeremiah Earby came up with an impressive pass breakup on the closest thing the Broncos saw to an interception all game. Ron Counts, Idaho Statesman, 7 Apr. 2024 That’s the irony in all this: The breakup of the Pac-12 accelerated the consolidation of power by the SEC and Big Ten and the marginalization of the ACC and Big 12. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, 5 Apr. 2024 Something led to the breakup with his first wife, and his second, and his third, which then led him to his fourth, and to their breakup, and to this piece of mail that ended up on Frank’s website. Hazlitt, 3 Apr. 2024 The breakup of an opposition alliance after the defeat of that candidate, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, did not hurt the CHP’s fortunes Sunday. Kareem Fahim, Washington Post, 1 Apr. 2024
One month before its release, The Beatles officially broke up. Alex Weprin, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 Apr. 2024 All About His Prison Sentence When did Daniel Wong and Jennifer Pan break up? Kelsie Gibson, Peoplemag, 15 Apr. 2024 The rubble is being broken up into chunks small enough to be hauled off by dump trucks. Justin Jouvenal, Washington Post, 15 Apr. 2024 Aim to stay in the bath or shower with the door closed for 10 to 15 minutes to break up your boogers. Alexis Berger, SELF, 15 Apr. 2024 When used to break up uterine fibroids (benign tumor tissue that can cause heavy menstrual bleeding and pain), these tools can spread cancer cells in some women whose fibroids concealed malignancies. Catherine M. Klapperich, STAT, 12 Apr. 2024 Just more than three months after their sprint to the altar, in a gala ceremony televised live on ABC, the widower and his new bride are breaking up. Greg Braxton, Los Angeles Times, 12 Apr. 2024 To visually break up the open space in order to distinguish different rooms, Jensen and Ross angled or elevated some living areas — for example, the living room is at ground level while the dining room sits three steps above the floor. David Caraccio, Sacramento Bee, 10 Apr. 2024 Local leaders in Carter County, Tennessee, in October debated but did not pass a resolution calling for Ballad to be better regulated or broken up. Brett Kelman and Samantha Liss, USA TODAY, 9 Apr. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'breakup.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1794, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

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

Dictionary Entries Near breakup

Cite this Entry

“Breakup.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
break·​up ˈbrā-ˌkəp How to pronounce breakup (audio)
: an act or an instance of breaking up

break up

2 of 2 verb
: to separate into parts
enzymes help break up protein molecules
: to bring or come to an end
the police broke up the demonstration
the party began to break up
: to end a romance
they dated for a while but broke up
: to go or cause to go into a fit of laughter
that joke always breaks me up

More from Merriam-Webster on breakup

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