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

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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That may be because the companies’ influence with regulators is too strong to allow a breakup. Ellen Milligan,, "Wirecard Exposes Big 4 Accounting Lapses Endure Post-Enron," 1 July 2020 Benedictine and Hoban also renew their rivalry, despite the NCL breakup. Matt Goul, cleveland, "Week-by-week 2020 high school football schedule: What this season could look like," 29 June 2020 Your previous breakup lasted for several years, and your sons were in the picture during that period. Amy Dickinson, Detroit Free Press, "Husband serves time for the sake of the kids," 29 June 2020 Asbury cited uncertainty caused by a global pandemic for the breakup. Dom Difurio, Dallas News, "Park Place rehiring some workers after laying off 20% amid coronavirus pandemic," 24 June 2020 Her breakup from Robert Pattinson—complete with its own infidelity scandal—is still talked about seven years later. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, "Kristen Stewart Will Play Princess Diana in a New Movie—And Honestly, That’s Perfect," 17 June 2020 The breakup may just be rumoured, but the facial hair is definitely the real thing. Sarah Midkiff,, "Cole Sprouse Looks So Different After Rumoured Lili Reinhart Split," 26 May 2020 From schools to workplaces, we are told that ordinary negative emotions and experiences—fear of failure, or sadness over a breakup, maybe—should be treated or eliminated. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, "Negative Emotions Are a Necessary Part of a Good Life," 18 June 2020 No romantic breakup, before or since, has hit me half as hard. Laurie Penny, Wired, "Live Wrong and Prosper: Covid-19 and the Future of Families," 18 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Many have been critical of the Fort Wayne Police Department's crowd-control tactics, including the use of tear gas to break up demonstrations. Justin L. Mack, The Indianapolis Star, "Allen County official resigns after making racist comments about protesters," 23 June 2020 Another man who intervened in an attempt to break up the fight was then shot by an unknown person, described as a Latino man wearing an Elvis Andrus jersey. Marc Ramirez, Dallas News, "Gunman at large after man fatally shot during parking-lot fight in north Oak Cliff," 20 June 2020 Officers have sometimes used gas, smoke, stun grenades and other types of munitions to break up late-night crowds. oregonlive, "Portland protests continue Monday after police take down some fencing at epicenter of demonstrations," 16 June 2020 For an overnight option to break up this trip, stay at the historic Grand Hotel on carless Mackinac Island. Katy Spratte Joyce, Travel + Leisure, "7 Best Midwest Road Trips in the U.S.," 14 June 2020 The remark came as Trump and Spicer discussed whether the president would seek to deploy the U.S. military to break up protests. Josh Wingrove,, "Trump Says New York Must Crack Down on Protesters or He Will," 7 June 2020 Calls from activists to break up or drastically restructure police departments, for instance, are more likely to be answered at the state and local level. Nicholas Fandos,, "Democrats to propose broad bill to target police misconduct and racial bias," 6 June 2020 Even moderate plans to break up and redistribute large estates concentrated in the hands of a powerful few, for example, were seen as harbingers of an impending Communist takeover. Andre Pagliarini, The New Republic, "Where America Developed a Taste for State Violence," 5 June 2020 Also Tuesday, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott expanded the city’s curfew a day after Arkansas authorities again used tear gas to break up protests outside the state Capitol. NBC News, "Arkansas declares state of emergency," 4 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for breakup

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for breakup

Last Updated

5 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Breakup.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for breakup


How to pronounce break up (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for breakup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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