1 of 2


break·​up ˈbrāk-ˌəp How to pronounce breakup (audio)
: an act or instance of breaking up
: the breaking, melting, and loosening of ice in the spring

break up

2 of 2


broke up; broken up; breaking up; breaks up

intransitive verb

: to cease to exist as a unified whole : disperse
their partnership broke up
: to end a romance
: 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

: to break into pieces
: to bring to an end
broke up the fight
: to do away with : destroy
break up a monopoly
: to disrupt the continuity or flow of
break up a dull routine
: decompose
break up a chemical
: to cause to laugh heartily

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
Some of them overlapped, and there were breakups and makeups. Angie Martoccio, Rolling Stone, 26 Feb. 2024 Some early life events – breakups, bad grades, unfortunate wardrobe choices – seem to need time to settle into perspective. Owen Thomas, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 Feb. 2024 But testimony about the book has shed light on the Eagles' interpersonal dynamics and reputational aims around the time of the group's 1980 breakup. CBS News, 23 Feb. 2024 Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors, unrestricted Big decisions coming for Golden State and Thompson, one of the game’s great shooters, as a possible breakup looms. Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, 22 Feb. 2024 According to this model, breakups are not a discrete event but a series of stages. Isle McElroy, The Atlantic, 16 Feb. 2024 Then — with several tracks painting a fully-body picture of their relationship and her lyrics confirming that their connection never truly ended even after their initial breakup in 2004. Joey Nolfi,, 16 Feb. 2024 Usher, however, says that for him, things ended at the time of their breakup. Janine Rubenstein, Peoplemag, 15 Feb. 2024 Lack of compatibility may lead to stress, conflicts, and even a breakup. Melissa Houston, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024
The effervescent hue is broken up only by a black hood and chrome trim, as well as the lower carbon-fiber sections which have been painted silver after having been left exposed on the first two cars in the series. Bryan Hood, Robb Report, 29 Feb. 2024 Charts, graphs and other visual supplements can break up the text in an effective way that keeps the reader engaged. April Rudin, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 This year’s Oscars ceremony will be broken up by performances from all five of the night’s best original song nominees. Hannah Dailey, Billboard, 28 Feb. 2024 The Eagles broke up in 1980 while Sanders was writing and reporting his work, and details of that collapse, which apparently included testy comments from band members, was included in Sanders’ draft. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 28 Feb. 2024 Once the altercation was broken up, all involved students walked to the assistant principal’s office and nurse’s office, according to school officials. Sean Neumann, Peoplemag, 26 Feb. 2024 The physical altercation was broken up by students and a faculty member, police have said. Sara Smart, CNN, 25 Feb. 2024 An angry Butler then charged toward Marshall, as players, coaches and staff members from both teams converged on the scorer’s table to try to break up the fight. Anthony Chiang, Miami Herald, 24 Feb. 2024 Your own work gets broken up into little bits on social media. Mikey O'Connell, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'breakup.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1794, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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

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

Dictionary Entries Near breakup

Cite this Entry

“Breakup.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
break·​up ˈbrā-ˌkəp How to pronounce breakup (audio)
: an act or an instance of breaking up

break up

2 of 2 verb
: to separate into parts
enzymes help break up protein molecules
: to bring or come to an end
the police broke up the demonstration
the party began to break up
: to end a romance
they dated for a while but broke up
: to go or cause to go into a fit of laughter
that joke always breaks me up

More from Merriam-Webster on breakup

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