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 Riep has recorded 14 tackles, one pass breakup and one interception over 10 games. Nathan Baird, cleveland, "How could Ohio State football’s depth chart change against Michigan for The Game?," 29 Nov. 2019 Hall last year led the nation is pass breakups with 22 and tied for the lead with 24 passes defended. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Virginia star cornerback Bryce Hall out for season," 14 Oct. 2019 Brown had a career-high in three areas, as well: tackles for loss, sacks and pass breakups. Giana Han, al, "Derrick Brown earns SEC honors in week 4," 23 Sep. 2019 In 2008, Schmitz argued that the asteroid breakup might be responsible. Joshua Sokol, Science | AAAS, "Veil of dust from ancient asteroid breakup may have cooled Earth," 18 Sep. 2019 And, this might be the biggest indicator of them all: Ask yourself what a breakup with this person would be like. Carolyn Hax, The Mercury News, "Carolyn Hax: What if my future self thinks my spouse is laughably wrong?," 19 Aug. 2019 Canoo was founded in late 2017 as Evelozcity, after Krause had a very public and ugly breakup with another electric vehicle startup: Faraday Future. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Canoo’s CEO steps away as the startup shows off EV designs," 16 Aug. 2019 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 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

7 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Breakup.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 13 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

Comments on breakup

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easily led, controlled, or managed

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