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

transitive verb

: to break apart : rupture
three periods of faulting disrupted the rocksUniversity of Arizona Record
: to throw into disorder
demonstrators trying to disrupt the meeting
: to interrupt the normal course or unity of
disrupted a bridge game by permanently hiding up the ace of spades …Scott Fitzgerald
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
disrupter noun
or less commonly disruptor

Examples of disrupt in a Sentence

The barking dogs disrupted my sleep. The weather disrupted our travel plans. a chemical that disrupts cell function
Recent Examples on the Web Only this time, Perry disrupts the altercation, and his past (future?) self ends up dying instead. Hunter Ingram, Variety, 17 May 2024 Power was temporarily disrupted on the island but secondary power was restored as of 1 p.m. Wednesday. Robbie Farias, USA TODAY, 15 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for disrupt 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'disrupt.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1663, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of disrupt was in 1663

Dictionary Entries Near disrupt

Cite this Entry

“Disrupt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disrupt. Accessed 25 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


dis·​rupt dis-ˈrəpt How to pronounce disrupt (audio)
: to throw into disorder
disrupted the class
disrupter noun
disruption noun
disruptive adjective
disruptively adverb
disruptiveness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on disrupt

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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