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

Example Sentences

The barking dogs disrupted my sleep. The weather disrupted our travel plans. a chemical that disrupts cell function
Recent Examples on the Web Spiegel says an extra stretchy mesentery could disrupt the structure of the gut. Monique Brouillette, Popular Mechanics, 19 Jan. 2023 And the Tribunal offers a glimpse of how a community can come together to adjudicate on how to deal with people who disrupt the community. WIRED, 19 Jan. 2023 That in turn can disrupt corporate bond issuers who use government bond yields as a benchmark, officials and economists say. Megumi Fujikawa, WSJ, 17 Jan. 2023 Authorities don’t anticipate that the investigation will disrupt activities at the Clar Kerr Campus. Summer Linstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 13 Jan. 2023 But just as damaging factors can disrupt the epigenome, healthy behaviors can repair it, Sinclair said. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 12 Jan. 2023 Dallas won’t have the chance to even get to Brady or disrupt his throws unless he is forced to hold onto the ball. Nick Kehoe, Dallas News, 12 Jan. 2023 The decision by Xi's government to end controls that shut down factories and kept millions of people at home will move up the timeline for economic recovery but might disrupt activity this year as businesses scramble to adapt, forecasters say. Ken Moritsugu, BostonGlobe.com, 10 Jan. 2023 But there’s no reason to believe that their more reasonable colleagues—to the extent that descriptor fits—would go along with any potential speaker who would either garner Democratic support or disrupt the party’s ambitions. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 6 Jan. 2023 See More

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.

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 28 Jan. 2023.

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

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