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

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

The Irish border was one of the Brexit deals biggest sticking points The UK and the EU are in the midst of trying to finalize the terms of their breakup, a tangled process that’s gone on for more than a year. Jen Kirby, Vox, "Theresa May gets cabinet approval for her draft Brexit deal," 14 Nov. 2018 After their breakup, Jessica's last remaining connection to the main hospital staff was through Dr. Glassman. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "'The Good Doctor' Star Beau Garrett Will Not Be Returning for Season 2," 20 Sep. 2018 But not everyone is convinced that this crack may predict a continental breakup. Megan Friedman, Popular Mechanics, "Does This Massive Crack in the Earth Mean We’re Getting a Brand-New Continent?," 5 Apr. 2018 And both used those breakups to fuel confidence anthems seemingly about those relationships. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande Shared a Supportive Text from Halsey About "Without Me" and "Thank U, Next"," 16 Nov. 2018 Following month after month of constant breakups and makeups with the basketball player, sources reportedly close to 34-year-old Khloé have claimed that the relationship could be nearing its end, and Koko is kind of over it. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Khloé Kardashian is Reportedly "Very Much Over" Tristan Thompson," 24 Oct. 2018 This month, expect makeups, breakups, and everything in between. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What October's Taurus Horoscope Means for You," 30 Sep. 2018 The 2018 Emmy nominee, who'd recently divorced second wife Casey Coates and endured a very public breakup with Whoopi Goldberg, had felt similarly. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen Can't Stop Saying Adorable Stuff About Each Other," 17 Sep. 2018 Bolstering its online presence and streamlining the in-store experience makes sense for the retailer, whose name has become synonymous with jokes about couple breakups and mental breakdowns. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Ikea is experimenting with small-format stores in cities," 25 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The couple, who broke up in November 2016 after a little more than a year of dating, reconnected this spring and have been more or less inseparable ever since. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Bella Hadid Introduced The Weeknd to Some of Her Extended Family at His Concert in Abu Dhabi," 25 Nov. 2018 Witness the backlash against Big Data in the United States, the calls to break up giants like Facebook and the anxiety about digital addiction. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A majority of Americans don’t think social networks are good for the world," 21 Nov. 2018 One of the last tracks from a group that broke up way too early. Ryan D'agostino, Popular Mechanics, "100 Songs to Clean the Garage To," 20 Nov. 2018 People are already calling for Facebook to be broken up. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Who could buy Discord? Acquirers have been giving the gaming startup a long look.," 21 Nov. 2018 The melee escalated not long after as more players, other officials and adults continued to break up the brawl. Alexandria Alejandro, Houston Chronicle, "Basketball game involving Houston team erupts into all-out brawl with refs, players," 10 July 2018 Other guidelines would require trees in the front yard, ask designers to use windows to break up large walls, set a minimum for windows and doors on the front of homes and create limits on the size and placement of garages and driveways. David Twiddy, kansascity, "Prairie Village residents focus on teardowns, new construction at first of 3 meetings," 10 July 2018 As early as next next year, a combination of escalating luxury taxes and expiring deals could force the Warriors to break up their star core. Andrew Sharp,, "The NBA is Broken, But Not Because of DeMarcus Cousins," 5 July 2018 Cellphone video captured the early Friday incident when, witnesses say, Jason Washington was trying to break up a fight. CBS News, "Protesters demand action after Portland State University police shoot, kill Navy veteran," 2 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

7 Dec 2018

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).


to make faulty or ineffective

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!