break·​up | \ ˈbrāk-ˌəp \

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

The synth-y, pop-heavy songs create the perfect breakup mix that people everywhere will by jamming to for the rest of eternity. Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "Signs That Ariana Grande’s “Ghostin” Lyrics Are About Mac Miller and Pete Davidson," 8 Feb. 2019 Bush and Hudson combined to make 185 tackles, 28 for loss, 13 sacks, 17 pass breakups and three interceptions. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan LBs Devin Bush Jr., Khaleke Hudson are modern wrecking balls," 28 June 2018 The breakup wasn’t unexpected, as Micron had signaled its intention to terminate the agreement last year. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel kills Optane 'Core+' desktop processor bundles as 3D XPoint venture dissolves," 15 Jan. 2019 Its falling share price has attracted activist investor Land & Buildings Investment Management LLC, which disclosed a 4.3% stake in June 2017 and has called for a breakup of the company. Suzanne Kapner, WSJ, "Hudson’s Bay Chairman Buys Stake Held by Ontario Pension Fund," 3 Jan. 2019 Although the news had fans skeptical, People confirms the breakup is real. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Cardi B Shares the First Picture of Baby Kulture After Announcing Separation from Offset," 6 Dec. 2018 Milosevic, who died in 2006 while on trial at the tribunal, is widely considered the most responsible politician in former Yugoslavia for the bloody breakup of the federation and the death of at least 120,000 people in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo. Dusan Stojanovic, Fox News, "Serbian president's praise of Milosevic triggers outrage," 10 Sep. 2018 The progressive, anti-monopolist might respond to this complaint by calling for the breakup of Netflix and Amazon, too. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Court Approves AT&T’s Merger With Time Warner," 12 June 2018 And definitely not while the cameras are rolling for a 40-minute breakup! Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Arie Luyendyk Jr. Says His Bachelor Experience Was 'Super Unfair'," 28 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Add lean ground pork, season with salt and pepper and cook, breaking up with spoon, until beginning to brown, 5 to 6 minutes. The Good Housekeeping Test Kitchen, Good Housekeeping, "Quick Pork Ragu with Ravioli," 21 Dec. 2018 Proposals here range from statehood for DC and Puerto Rico to packing the Supreme Court with pro-voting rights justices to breaking up California into seven states to affect the Senate. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "New Jersey Democrats have a new gerrymandering plan. It is indefensible — and national Democrats need to stop it.," 14 Dec. 2018 There’s been serious talk of limiting many Google services, not just regulating its search engine — including discussion of breaking up the company. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "The long, tortured quest to make Google unbiased," 6 Dec. 2018 Which is in a way a form of breaking up the company. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Why Amazon is a ‘bully,’ and Facebook and Google are ‘the enemies of independent thought’," 3 Dec. 2018 Typical antibiotics work by breaking up bacteria cell walls, which cause those bacteria to fall apart and die. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Researchers Discover Method to Make Bacteria Harmless," 18 Oct. 2018 Today's comes courtesy of a fan on Twitter, who seems to have fabricated an entire, impressively detailed story about Kylie Jenner and Travis Scott breaking up. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kylie Jenner Called Out a Fan Who Made Up a Story About Travis Scott on Instagram," 19 Aug. 2018 Hadid and Malik previously broke up in March 2018 after two years of dating. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Gigi Hadid Was Seen at Zayn Malik's Apartment After They Broke Up," 17 Jan. 2019 This week, the pair set off the rumor mill when friends of the couple (who first got engaged in 2012, broke up, and then reunited in 2016) started posting photos from what looked suspiciously like an intimate wedding reception. Macaela Mackenzie, Glamour, "Miley Cyrus Just Confirmed She and Liam Hemsworth are Married," 26 Dec. 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 Feb 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

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).


to express emotion in a dramatic way

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