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

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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

The BEIS Select Committee, formed of U.K. lawmakers, in early April suggested a structural breakup of the Big Four accounting firms in Britain. Nina Trentmann, WSJ, "KPMG Strengthens Oversight of Audit Business Amid Regulatory Scrutiny," 16 May 2019 No one knows heartbreak quite like Varchie stans, who had to endure the couple's breakup earlier this season and watch as both sides of the couple shacked up with new baes. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "8 Signs that Archie and Veronica Are Going to Get Back Together on "Riverdale"," 18 Apr. 2019 The date was based on the two-year breakup period that started when May gave official notice Britain was pulling out. Lorne Cook, The Seattle Times, "UK Parliament moves to make ‘no-deal’ Brexit more difficult," 8 Jan. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Some 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have called for them to be broken up. Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY, "Donald Trump rips U.S. Chamber of Commerce for attacking his tariff strategy," 10 June 2019 Mahorn coached the Trilogy to a championship in the BIG3's inaugural season, however, the team was broken up after a disappointing 2018. J.l. Kirven, Detroit Free Press, "9 big names who should be at BIG3 basketball league opener in Detroit," 8 June 2019 Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren argues that Amazon and some other leading tech companies such as Facebook and Google should be broken up. Tom Simonite, WIRED, "Bezos Says Amazon Will Bet Even Bigger Despite Antitrust Probes," 6 June 2019 Elizabeth Warren, a senator and Democratic presidential hopeful, has said that Facebook should be broken up. The Economist, "American trustbusters are rattling Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple," 6 June 2019 In an attack on pagan monuments, villagers began to topple and bury the ancient stones as early as the 14th century, and in the 18th century, many more were systematically broken up and destroyed. National Geographic, "Why summer solstice is one of the best times to see Stonehenge," 6 June 2019 The social traffic can be broken up even further into individual platforms. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, "These Are the Most Popular Beauty Brands on the Internet," 28 May 2019 Throughout the season, the Santos and the Prophet$ battled for territory in Freeridge after their truce was broken up. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything We Know About "On My Block" Season 3," 30 Apr. 2019 While the mission hoped to show how asteroids could be broken up in the event of one hurtling towards Earth, there were also more benign scientific goal in sending out the SCI, like the foundation of the universe. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Surprised at How Much of Asteroid They Blew Up," 25 Apr. 2019

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

25 May 2019

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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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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

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