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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The wintry weather did disrupt the country’s soccer league, with some teams unable to travel for games. Aritz Parra, BostonGlobe.com, "Unusual snow kills 4, brings much of Spain to a standstill," 9 Jan. 2021 Trump’s order, which cites concerns that the platforms threaten national security, could significantly disrupt international commerce systems working across international borders. Jennifer Jacobs, Fortune, "Trump tries to ban transactions with Chinese payment apps," 6 Jan. 2021 Someone or something may disrupt your daily routine, and the changes may create a brief feeling of insecurity. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Jan. 4, 2021: Cancer, keep the ball rolling; Pisces, your steadiness is an asset," 4 Jan. 2021 Even a pause in funding could disrupt progress for students currently in school, Hoff said, noting that such pauses often mean money won’t be available back later on. Emily Donaldson, Dallas News, "Lawmakers invested big in pre-K last legislative session. A tight budget could threaten that funding.," 30 Dec. 2020 The storms could disrupt air travel, especially in the Midwest. New York Times, "Nobody Is Singing for This Kind of Christmas Storm," 23 Dec. 2020 On top of that, a storm system may disrupt travel and delivery. Editors, USA TODAY, "Vaccine for Fauci, DACA court hearing, gift shipping deadlines: 5 things to know Tuesday," 22 Dec. 2020 At this point, the operation appears to have been espionage to steal national security information, rather than to disrupt, deny, or degrade US government data or networks. Erica Borghard, Wired, "Russia's Hack Wasn't Cyberwar. That Complicates US Strategy," 17 Dec. 2020 Can Notre Dame’s defense disrupt the Tigers enough to throw Lawrence off his rhythm? Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, "Alabama looks like a shoe-in for SEC title," 17 Dec. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about disrupt

Time Traveler for disrupt

Time Traveler

The first known use of disrupt was in 1663

See more words from the same year

Statistics for disrupt

Last Updated

25 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disrupt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disrupt. Accessed 26 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for disrupt


How to pronounce disrupt (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on disrupt

What made you want to look up disrupt? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!