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 Davidson recently split from actress Margaret Qualley; the breakup came nearly a year after his whirlwind engagement to Ariana Grande ended. Claudia Harmata,, "Kaia Gerber and Pete Davidson Celebrate His 26th Birthday Together with Cake and SNL Afterparty," 17 Nov. 2019 All the wedding details to unwind, moving apartments, the heartbreak of the actual breakup. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: It’s not a bad time to break up. It’s a good time to be honest.," 16 Nov. 2019 Joseph also had the game-sealing pass breakup Sunday against Detroit after Carr threw a TD pass to Renfrow in a 31-24 victory. oregonlive, "Oakland Raiders rally past the Los Angeles Chargers: Recap, score, stats and more," 7 Nov. 2019 Joseph also had the game-sealing pass breakup Sunday against the Detroit Lions after Carr threw a TD pass to Renfrow in a 31-24 victory. Josh Dubow,, "Josh Jacobs’ late touchdown caps Raiders’ rally for 26-24 victory against Chargers," 7 Nov. 2019 Omarion tweeted about the breakup and Apryl offered an explantion to fans via Snapchat. Essence, "We Weren't Ready! 43 Celebrity Breakups We Never Saw Coming," 6 Nov. 2019 Frethem refused to fault either party, saying that would be counter-productive, while Jessup blamed the county for the breakup. Tad Vezner, Twin Cities, "Ramsey County elections: Political newcomer Frethem wins board seat," 5 Nov. 2019 The consequent scandal prompted two high-profile divorces and one of the messiest breakups in royal history. Katherine J Igoe, Marie Claire, "Did Princess Anne and Andrew Parker Bowles Date, Per 'The Crown'?," 4 Nov. 2019 There has been speculation of the breakup for several weeks since the duo hasn't posted any photos together on social media since mid-September. Sophie Lewis, CBS News, "Demi and Kristian, Bachelor in Paradise's first LGBTQ couple, confirm breakup," 31 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Voters may not share Elizabeth Warren's focus on breaking up Big Tech, Recode's Theodore Schliefer reports. Cat Zakrzewski, Washington Post, "The Technology 202: Twitter suspends accounts impersonating Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Fiona Hill," 27 Nov. 2019 The 'bunnies signed to Virgin and released Paw Paw Patch in 1990 before breaking up. Sean Clancy, Arkansas Online, "MUSIC: Ex-Gunbunny Maxwell returns to Little Rock for friend's benefit concert," 21 Nov. 2019 The male partner is upset and then goes on to publicize intimate photos or videos that the couple took while together to get back at the female partner for breaking up with him. Jennifer Gerson,, "Revenge Porn Is a Dangerous Form of Sexual Abuse—and Victims Often Have No Power to Fight Back," 19 Nov. 2019 Last year Hadid and The Weeknd got back together before breaking up, yet again. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Selena Gomez Just Responded to Bella Hadid’s Deleting an Instagram She Commented On," 18 Nov. 2019 In one storyline that is receiving criticism from royal experts, season 3 sees members of the British Royal Family taking a very active role in breaking up Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles. Katherine J Igoe, Marie Claire, "Did Lord Mountbatten and the Queen Mother Break Up Charles & Camilla?," 17 Nov. 2019 Think of this one as a new way to buy now, pay later by breaking up payments into monthly installments. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "Paying for the holidays in six easy payments. Here's what to consider," 14 Nov. 2019 But foreign gatecrashers may be wary of breaking up an all-French deal. Chris Hughes | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Capgemini’s $4 Billion French Deal Is Too Cheap," 14 Nov. 2019 Goo Goo Dolls fans haven't had to read about the band breaking up or had to watch a member spin-off on a solo career. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "Goo Goo Dolls 'slide' into nostalgia with fans at Louisville Palace," 13 Nov. 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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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

23 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Breakup.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 5 December 2019.

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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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