dis·​rupt | \ dis-ˈrəpt How to pronounce disrupt (audio) \
disrupted; disrupting; disrupts

Definition of disrupt

transitive verb

1a : to break apart : rupture three periods of faulting disrupted the rocksUniversity of Arizona Record
b : to throw into disorder demonstrators trying to disrupt the meeting
2a : to interrupt the normal course or unity of disrupted a bridge game by permanently hiding up the ace of spades …— Scott Fitzgerald
b business : to cause upheaval in (an industry, market, etc.) The banking industry, on the other hand, is being disrupted by a breakdown of the model of paying money on deposits and taking interest on loans.— Cromwell Schubarth specifically : to successfully challenge (established businesses, products, or services) by using an innovation (such as a new technology or business model) to gain a foothold in a marginal or new segment of the market and then fundamentally changing the nature of the market In contrast, the digital technologies that allowed personal computers to disrupt minicomputers improved much more quickly; Compaq was able to increase revenue more than tenfold and reach parity with the industry leader, DEC, in only 12 years. — Clayton M. Christensen et al. … this innovative service that might disrupt the industry comes at the low end of the product/service/technology, a place where these high-end consumers have neither interest nor experience. This low-end attack, which initially does not attract much attention, might grow to be a high quality service that supplants the incumbent. — Eitan Muller

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Other Words from disrupt

disrupter or less commonly disruptor noun

Examples of disrupt in a Sentence

The barking dogs disrupted my sleep. The weather disrupted our travel plans. a chemical that disrupts cell function
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Recent Examples on the Web Tariffs disrupt the market process and cause unintended consequences for American producers. Noah C. Gould, National Review, 11 Oct. 2021 It is designed to disrupt the coronavirus’ ability to replicate itself inside of human cells. Karen Kaplan Science And Medicine Editor, Los Angeles Times, 1 Oct. 2021 And studies with human cells isolated in laboratories have indicated that QACs can disrupt a cellular process crucial to fetal development. Matthew Phelan, Scientific American, 17 Sep. 2021 In the short term, ISIS-K will likely continue its efforts to sow panic and chaos, disrupt the withdrawal process, and demonstrate that the Afghan Taliban are incapable of providing security to the population. Jordan Weinstock, Quartz, 28 Aug. 2021 In the short term, ISIS-K will likely continue its efforts to sow panic and chaos, disrupt the withdrawal process and demonstrate that the Afghan Taliban are incapable of providing security to the population. Amira Jadoon, The Conversation, 26 Aug. 2021 Limiting access to voting and employing violence in order to disrupt the democratic process are not aberrations. Time, 27 May 2021 President Joe Biden said Thursday that the US was going to pursue measures to disrupt the ability of the criminals behind the attack to operate. Geneva Sands, CNN, 14 May 2021 Biden also said that his administration will try to disrupt the hackers' ability to operate. BostonGlobe.com, 14 May 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disrupt.' 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 disrupt

1663, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for disrupt

Latin disruptus, past participle of disrumpere, from dis- + rumpere to break — more at reave

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Time Traveler for disrupt

Time Traveler

The first known use of disrupt was in 1663

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Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disrupt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disrupt. Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for disrupt



English Language Learners Definition of disrupt

: to cause (something) to be unable to continue in the normal way : to interrupt the normal progress or activity of (something)


dis·​rupt | \ dis-ˈrəpt How to pronounce disrupt (audio) \
disrupted; disrupting

Kids Definition of disrupt

1 : to cause disorder in disrupted the class
2 : to interrupt the normal course of Barking dogs disrupted my sleep.

Other Words from disrupt

disruption \ dis-​ˈrəp-​shən \ noun
disruptive \ -​ˈrəp-​tiv \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on disrupt

Nglish: Translation of disrupt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of disrupt for Arabic Speakers


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