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

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 Allen was picked off by free safety George Odum on the first drive, picked off by Kenny Moore after a Xavier Rhodes pass breakup. Joel A. Erickson, USA TODAY, 22 Nov. 2021 But a source told PEOPLE shortly after their breakup that the pop stars' bond simply couldn't stand the test of time. Kaitlyn Frey,, 22 Nov. 2021 Allen was picked off by free safety George Odum on the first drive, picked off by Kenny Moore after a Xavier Rhodes pass breakup. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, 21 Nov. 2021 The mayor of a northern Italian city on Sunday called for stiffer laws to protect women, a day after the slaying of a woman by her ex-boyfriend, who had recently been given a plea deal for repeatedly stalking her after their breakup. Frances D'emilio, ajc, 21 Nov. 2021 Allen had a sack, interception, fumble recovery and pass breakup. Eric Branch, San Francisco Chronicle, 20 Nov. 2021 Shayk opened up about their breakup in a 2020 interview with British Vogue. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 17 Nov. 2021 Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello have announced their breakup in joint Instagram story statements. Bethy Squires, Vulture, 17 Nov. 2021 The move comes weeks after Third Point LLC took a $750 million stake in Shell and called for its breakup. Washington Post, 14 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb One of Wu’s signature proposals — to break up the Boston Planning & Development Agency — could have the effect of diluting her power as mayor to control development, but strikes a chord with younger voters demanding a seat at the table. Globe Staff,, 14 Nov. 2021 The first floor has an open design in which kitchen, dining and the entertainment areas flow harmoniously into and out of one another without walls that break up sight lines. Mary Carole Mccauley,, 10 Nov. 2021 The battle over whether to break up Big Tech is heading to city halls and state capitals. NBC News, 9 Nov. 2021 Lil Peep’s mother lost her bid Wednesday to break up her lawsuit against her late son’s record label and go after nearly $4 million in allegedly overdue royalties on a faster timetable than her wrongful death claims. Nancy Dillon, Rolling Stone, 3 Nov. 2021 Koslow said spinning off Instagram and other measures to break up Facebook could be a start. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, 25 Oct. 2021 Housewives works best when the groups break up to make up again; the never-ending silent treatments and blank stares are not part of that program. Shamira Ibrahim, Vulture, 17 Oct. 2021 Radiofrequency ablation, or use of high frequency sound waves to break up the fibroid from outside your body. Sarah Bradley,, 14 Oct. 2021 And so people look for anything to break up that monotony. Dalton Ross,, 14 Oct. 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near breakup

break time


break up

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Statistics for breakup

Last Updated

27 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Breakup.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on breakup

Nglish: Translation of breakup for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breakup for Arabic Speakers


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