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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The only real resolution is a breakup, but the companies need their Tencent shares to fund bets on cash-draining industries like food delivery. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, 21 June 2021 Later this year, director Peter Jackson is going to re-write the ending to one of the greatest breakup stories in music history, charting the end of one of (if not the) biggest rock band of all time. Andy Meek, BGR, 17 June 2021 Next stop: a duet between these two breakup-anthem queens? Justin Curto, Vulture, 14 June 2021 Two things were the hardest: Kim's robbery and Khloé's breakup interviews. Marcus Jones,, 11 June 2021 There were times where the shuttle crew had no chance for survival if something went wrong, like during the 1986 Challenger explosion just after liftoff and 2003 Columbia breakup during re-entry. Eric Niiler, Wired, 10 June 2021 The person initiating the breakup often wants to relieve their own guilt by insisting that this is really the best course for their partner. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, 9 June 2021 The person initiating the breakup often wants to relieve their own guilt by insisting that this is really the best course for their partner. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, 9 June 2021 One of the knottiest issues of Brexit is what to do about what has been an open border between Ireland, which is a member of the E.U., and Northern Ireland, which is no longer a member as a result of the Brexit breakup. Washington Post, 9 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Tree and shrubs in this zone should be limited to small clusters of a few each to break up the continuity of the vegetation across the landscape. Jordan Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 12 June 2021 Their girlfriends tried stepping in to break up the fight, but Fulkerson pushed the women to the ground. William Thornton |, al, 11 June 2021 To break up the cookies, use a knife, a rolling pin, or your hands., 8 June 2021 Highs next week flirt with 90F, a few garden- variety thundershowers bubbling each day to break up the muggy monotony. Paul Douglas, Star Tribune, 3 June 2021 To break up our never-ending days, many of us got pandemic puppies. cleveland, 2 June 2021 After righty Bryan Garcia gave up a two-out RBI single to Torres in the eighth, Michael Fulmer took over for the final four outs, allowing one of Garcia's runners to score in the eighth to break up the shutout. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 30 May 2021 In Lucifer's midseason finale, the eternally God (Dennis Haysbert) descended from Heaven to break up the familial squabble between Lucifer (Tom Ellis), Amenadiel (DB Woodside), and their manipulative brother Michael (also Ellis). Ew Staff,, 28 May 2021 Now that just seems like the narrative spinning its wheels until the families could break up. Roxana Hadadi, Vulture, 24 May 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of breakup


1794, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About breakup

Time Traveler for breakup

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for breakup

Last Updated

24 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Breakup.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

More from Merriam-Webster on breakup

Nglish: Translation of breakup for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breakup for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!