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


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


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

The revelations from her bankruptcy research, by her account, became the seeds of her worldview, laid out in her campaign plans for everything from a new tax on the wealthiest Americans to a breakup of the big technology companies. Stephanie Saul, New York Times, "The Education of Elizabeth Warren," 25 Aug. 2019 Manchester United fans saw the breakup of one of football’s best bromances when Ander Herrera exited Old Trafford on a free transfer to join Paris Saint-Germain and left pals Juan Mata and David de Gea behind., "Scott McTominay & Daniel James Is the New Bromance That Man Utd Need This Season," 19 Aug. 2019 Early breakup of sea ice, less snow and even rain threatens lairs, exposing pups to polar bears, Arctic foxes and freezing temperatures. Dan Joling, Anchorage Daily News, "Environmental group sues Trump administration over ice seal status," 13 June 2019 Okudah is also playing at an advanced level right now, and would likely have more than two pass breakups if teams were inclined to throw at him. Nathan Baird,, "Is Ohio State football’s defense ready for Clemson and Alabama? Buckeye Rewatch," 16 Sep. 2019 Eddie Jackson had 10 tackles and two pass breakups and even though the ball was coming out quickly for Flacco, Mack and Nick Williams each were credited with a sack and six different players had one quarterback hit. Brad Biggs,, "Brad Biggs’ 10 thoughts on the Bears’ 16-14 win over the Broncos in Week 2," 16 Sep. 2019 Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, with two pass breakups and overall sticky coverage, spent much of the afternoon triumphantly barking at members of the Bengals offense. Eric Branch,, "49ers game grades vs. Bengals: Garoppolo and offense sizzle, defense overwhelms," 15 Sep. 2019 The Spartans have forced six turnovers, plus three sacks, seven pass breakups and six tackles for loss. Chris Solari, azcentral, "Behind enemy lines: Michigan State's scouting report vs. ASU football," 13 Sep. 2019 The Burnsville native had a team-high 13 tackles and a pass breakup last week. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Gophers football vs. Georgia Southern: How to watch and who has the edge," 12 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 In the eight years since Sonic Youth broke up, Ms. Gordon has not missed the touring, the videos, the grind. Alex Williams, New York Times, "Kim Gordon’s Other Life," 14 Sep. 2019 From the 1970s onwards the malign era of Transaction Man begins, in which financial deregulation and more assertive owners see big firms broken up and managers take a more ruthless view of social obligations. The Economist, "Nicholas Lemann traces the history of American corporations," 14 Sep. 2019 The new wave quartet has only grown in relevance in the near three decades that they've been broken up, and though a reunion remains unlikely, a new album would instantly become a must-hear for generations of alt-rock fans. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Five Burning Questions: Billboard Staffers Discuss Tool's Huge Debut With 'Fear Inoculum' Comeback Album," 10 Sep. 2019 Last month, it was reported that The Weeknd and longtime on-and-off girlfriend Bella Hadid broke up. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "The Weeknd Looks Straight Out of the '70s with His New Look," 10 Sep. 2019 Trailing 20-14 and facing a fourth-and-goal from the 49ers’ 2, Winston threw too late to a wide open Chris Godwin at the goal line and Tarvarius Moore had time to dart in to break up the pass. Jon Becker, The Mercury News, "Jimmy vs. Jameis: Who won quarterback battle in Tampa Bay?," 8 Sep. 2019 Last year, a coalition of left-leaning groups launched an ad campaign arguing for the break up of Facebook. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Making the antitrust case against Facebook, a new kind of monopoly," 6 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

12 Oct 2019

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Time Traveler for breakup

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

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More Definitions for breakup



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with breakup

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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