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


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

Calafiore is known in Bachelor Nation as the ex-boyfriend of Danielle Maltby from Nick Viall's Bachelor season and Bachelor in Paradise, and to say Danielle and Paulie's breakup was messy is putting it rather lightly. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Why 'Bachelor' Star Demi Burnett Will Be All Anyone Can Talk About," 14 Jan. 2019 But a public breakup wasn’t the only thing Diana was enduring. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Princess Diana didn't want to divorce Prince Charles, claims former personal trainer: 'She married for love'," 7 Sep. 2018 Those innovations – and the breakup of the Soviet Union – helped the US narrow the gap. David Koenig, The Christian Science Monitor, "US expected to surpass Saudi Arabia, Russia as world's top oil producer," 12 July 2018 Fans have been questioning their relationship status for several weeks and, while nothing has been confirmed, there's a lot of evidence supporting this breakup theory on social media. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Did Chase Chrisley and Girlfriend Lindsey Merrick Break Up?," 21 Feb. 2019 In honor of the international day of love and romance, Ariana Grande dropped a surprise clothing line to honor the opposite: messy breakups. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Ariana Grande Just Dropped an Entire Limited-Edition Clothing Collection for Valentine’s Day," 14 Feb. 2019 My confusion over the sadness of the breakup and the happiness of the new relationship was only compounded by my tiredness. Kate Gardner, SELF, "What It’s Like to Be So Sleep Deprived That You Hallucinate," 14 Feb. 2019 The following years did see some breakups, but also always makeups. Madeleine Luckel, Vogue, "Happy Birthday Kate Middleton! A Look Back at Her Life, and Romance, With Prince William," 9 Jan. 2019 Shifts in your interpersonal relationships will be inevitable, so watch out for spontaneous breakups and unexpected makeups. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What October's Scorpio Horoscope Means for You," 30 Sep. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Twitty is cutting up an onion and Dunn is breaking up collard green leaves. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "raceAhead: The Hidden Racism in Industrial Kitchens," 19 June 2018 But today, much to everyone’s discontent — especially Sofia’s father, Lionel Richie — TMZ is reporting that the couple never broke up. Amanda Arnold, The Cut, "Scott Disick and Sofia Richie Are Apparently Still Dating," 4 June 2018 Neighbors also said the couple had broken up a month earlier, and Greg Porter started living out of his car. Aimee Green,, "Quick-thinking witness helped catch PSU hit-and-run suspect, court papers say," 29 May 2018 When the couple amicably broke up and Sheen moved back to his native UK, the Minotaur did not go with him. Drew Magary, GQ, "Sarah Silverman Is the Troll Slayer," 23 May 2018 The two re-bonded after the couple broke up in 2014. Erika Harwood, Vanities, "Is Cara Delevingne the Key to Understanding Rita Ora’s “Girls”?," 23 May 2018 Had Di Palo or someone else uploaded them after the couple broke up? Rossalyn Warren, The Atlantic, "Should the Internet Forget Italy's Most Viral Sex Tape?," 16 May 2018 Haynes, 29, filed papers Tuesday in Los Angeles, according to TMZ, which also reported last week that the couple had broken up. Tracy Brown,, "Colton Haynes and Jeff Leatham are divorcing after only six months," 8 May 2018 Latham continued calling out other cry-worthy scenarios, like losing a job after staying home with a sick child, breaking up with a partner, or enduring unsuccessful IVF treatments. Blake Bakkila,, "This Woman’s Powerful Message About Crying in the Shower Is Going Viral," 4 May 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

16 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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