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


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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

After their breakup that same year, Harry seemingly confirmed in a 2017 Rolling Stone interview that several songs on his solo album Harry Styles were inspired by Kendall. Teen Vogue, "Harry Styles and Kendall Jenner Reunited at Met Gala 2019," 7 May 2019 Prosecutors would later allege that Adnan was angry after their breakup and jealous that Lee had begun dating someone else. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Complete Timeline of The Case Against Adnan Syed," 31 Mar. 2019 What's going to happen next for him after his breakup with Moose? Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "“Riverdale”’s Casey Cott On Saying Goodbye To Moose and Ashleigh Murray’s Big Move to “Katy Keene”," 7 Feb. 2019 This is right after his breakup with Selena Gomez, and while the two are writing songs about each other. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "A Comprehensive Timeline Of Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber’s Relationship," 9 July 2018 Though Bieber had been linked to ex-girlfriend Selena Gomez this spring after her breakup with The Weeknd, both stars appear unattached. Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "What's going on with Justin Bieber and Hailey Baldwin?," 18 June 2018 In the breakup, CBS also received premium channel Showtime, an also-ran to the prestigious juggernaut HBO. Stephen Battaglio,, "Leslie Moonves helped make CBS a TV juggernaut, but the brawl over a Viacom merger could lead to his exit," 18 May 2018 As some of us know from television and others know from drunk-texting their colorist post-breakup, platinum hair tends to appear during a time of major personal shift. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina," 5 Apr. 2019 McCubbin shares a personal anecdote about an impulse post-breakup purchase of a $400 pair of too-small jeans. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "This is What's Actually Keeping You From KonMari'ing Your House," 3 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In a new interview with CBS Sunday Morning, the Bangtan Boys opened up about the potentially imminent possibility of the band eventually breaking up due to South Korea’s mandatory military service. Sara Delgado, Teen Vogue, "BTS Said They Will Likely Eventually Break Up to Serve in the South Korean Military," 23 Apr. 2019 Shortly after breaking up with Noah Cyrus, Lil Xan started to date Annie Smith. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything You Need To Know About Lil Xan's Love Life," 9 Apr. 2019 Who is responsible for breaking up a romantic partnership? Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Stop Blaming Women When Men Cheat," 11 Mar. 2019 So, if David's predictions are right, and Cole and Lili do break up, what will the fallout look like? Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Are Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart Endgame or Are They Destined to Breakup?," 29 Apr. 2019 As described on the Serial podcast, Lee and Syed dated for much of 1998, and had broken up towards the end of the year. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "A Complete Timeline of The Case Against Adnan Syed," 31 Mar. 2019 The couple first met and dated in college, but broke up for several years before getting back together. Tamara Fuentes, Country Living, "Luke Bryan and His Wife Caroline Boyer Have the Most Relatable Love Story," 28 Mar. 2019 The government used an Ebola outbreak as a pretext to bar voting in opposition strongholds, and security forces broke up opposition rallies. The Editorial Page, WSJ, "The Congo’s Crooked Contest," 2 Jan. 2019 Harrison drove into the lane, but his pass to a cutting Mikal Bridges was broken up as time expired. Arizona Republic, azcentral, "Phoenix Suns fall in NBA Summer League playoffs to Philadelphia 76ers," 12 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.

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

Statistics for breakup

Last Updated

11 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for breakup

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

See more words from the same century

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


one that collects or salvages junk

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Time Traveler Quiz: Which Word Came First?

  • time traveler quiz which word came first
  • Which came first?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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