break·​up | \ˈbrāk-ˌəp \

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


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

Refinery29 spoke to Harnett about writing the track with producer and co-writer GRADES (Tove Lo, Little Boots), using music as therapy after a breakup, and creating a vibe., "Sinead Harnett Makes A Breakup Sound Like A Very Sexy Thing In "Body"," 11 July 2018 For the sake of basic human decency: please do not live tweet dates, do not live tweet flirting, do not live tweet breakups, makeups, or meet cutes. Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic, "Stop Live-Tweeting Strangers Flirting," 9 July 2018 Participants were asked to write about their lives, a recent relationship breakup, their level of satisfaction with life, or just their general thoughts and feelings. Elizabeth Bernstein, WSJ, "The Words That Can Signal You’re Depressed," 11 June 2018 The former second-round pick from Samford finished with the same number of interceptions (two) and pass breakups (10) as his rookie season, although his 85 tackles (based on press box statistics) were more than any other corner in the league. Joseph Person, charlotteobserver, "Panthers' James Bradberry has big plan for first season without embattled Daryl Worley | Charlotte Observer," 16 Apr. 2018 Like an awkward breakup, folks were alternately sad or glad to read the news of Macy's Downtown location closing. Bob Strickley,, "3 headlines you may have missed: Another white out? Goetta at GABP? Bye, Macy's," 21 Mar. 2018 Other antitrust experts conclude otherwise, given the difficulty of proving prospective harms and the Justice Department’s track record in cases like the breakup of the Bell System. Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "After AT&T-Time Warner, Will the U.S. Go After Comcast Next?," 8 Mar. 2018 Along the way there are breakups, tragedies, and a who’s who of musicians who have performed with McClinton, including Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, John Belushi and more. Robert Philpot, star-telegram, "Major Bill, seedy clubs, Davis mansion just a small part of McClinton’s Fort Worth past," 8 Feb. 2018 Mahoney: For every Shaq and Kobe, there are dozens of colder, more indifferent breakups. Rob Mahoney,, "Breakaway: How Damian Lillard Put His Stamp on the Blazers," 25 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In a large bowl, break up the ground lamb into rough chunks. Adam Ried,, "Recipes: Switch it up with lamb burgers instead of beef," 13 July 2018 To really ramp up the styling, try an equally as graphic pair of black-and-white hoop earrings and break up the monochromatic vibe with a tiny, colorful bag. Lindsay Peoples, The Cut, "Hot Days Call for a White Dress and Sneakers," 13 July 2018 South Korean riot police break up a protest in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, near the U.S. military facility Camp Humphreys, on May 4, 2006. Time, "Inside Camp Humphreys, South Korea: America's Largest Overseas Military Base," 13 July 2018 Justin and Selena recently broke up after getting back together in October 2017. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Justin Bieber Still Has His Selena Gomez Tattoo Even After Getting Engaged and It's AWKWARD," 11 July 2018 The Orioles finally broke up the shutout in the eighth inning on a two-run homer by leadoff man Tim Beckham. Peter Schmuck,, "Yankees strike back, salvage doubleheader split with 10-2 rout of Orioles," 10 July 2018 Davidson and David broke up less than 12 weeks ago. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "Cazzie David Should Be the Next Bachelorette: A Proposal," 10 July 2018 After dating on and off for years, Gomez and Bieber broke up for good in March 2018 this year. Isabel Greenberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Twitter Is Celebrating That Selena Gomez Will Never Ever Date Justin Bieber Again," 9 July 2018 According to a statement the former wrote on her Instagram story, Halsey and G-Eazy have broken up., "Halsey & G-Eazy Have Broken Up," 3 July 2018

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

9 Nov 2018

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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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Comments on breakup

What made you want to look up breakup? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


playful or foolish behavior

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