dis·​rup·​tive dis-ˈrəp-tiv How to pronounce disruptive (audio)
: disrupting or tending to disrupt some process, activity, condition, etc. : causing or tending to cause disruption
a disruptive weather pattern
It is hoped that, if the child learns that disruptive behavior brings no rewards, his tantrums will diminish and perhaps stop.Susan Sheehan
In recent years, airlines began to carry plastic handcuffs as a way to restrain disruptive passengers.Erik Holm
Other teammates marvel at how easily he morphs from a mild-mannered family man in the locker room into a disruptive force on the field.Jefri Chadiha
disruptively adverb
acting disruptively
disruptiveness noun
… the disruptiveness of climatic change will depend strongly on the rate of change. Roger Revelle

Examples of disruptive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And getting rid of that many email accounts would be tremendously disruptive to the world economy. Matt Novak / Gizmodo, Quartz, 23 Feb. 2024 Aligned interests may be challenging but are worth pursuing for a technology as disruptive as AI. B Corporations A blend of for-profit and nonprofit entities called B Corporations have evolved over recent years, with prominent examples including Patagonia, Kickstarter and Ben & Jerry’s, as of 2019. Muddu Sudhakar, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 First, we've long been concerned about disruptive cyberattacks against critical infrastructure. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, 21 Feb. 2024 But fast-forward to today, where leaders face a host of non-academic challenges—from disruptive technology to geopolitics to head-spinning budget processes—and the perception of university presidents has evolved dramatically. Sheryl Estrada, Fortune, 16 Feb. 2024 The fact that getting COVID can be so disruptive to someone’s schedule may actually disincentivize them from following the guidelines, or from testing in the first place, Murphy added. Julia Landwehr, Health, 15 Feb. 2024 However, gaming’s disruptive and startling layoffs have precedent. Gene Park, Washington Post, 15 Feb. 2024 Their advocacy is grounded on the wishes of their clients, without taking into consideration the disruptive and destructive results of their clients’ actions on crime victims. Aisha Braveboy, Baltimore Sun, 12 Feb. 2024 Because some conditions and diseases are more debilitating than others, public health officials and policy makers have ways of defining just how disruptive and limiting each may be. Daryl Austin, USA TODAY, 8 Feb. 2024 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1827, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of disruptive was in 1827

Dictionary Entries Near disruptive

Cite this Entry

“Disruptive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disruptive. Accessed 2 Mar. 2024.

Medical Definition


dis·​rup·​tive dis-ˈrəp-tiv How to pronounce disruptive (audio)
: characterized by psychologically disorganized behavior
a confused, incoherent, and disruptive patient in the manic phase

More from Merriam-Webster on disruptive

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