in·ter·rupt | \ˌin-tə-ˈrəpt \
interrupted; interrupting; interrupts

Definition of interrupt 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to stop or hinder by breaking in interrupted the speaker with frequent questions

2 : to break the uniformity or continuity of a hot spell occasionally interrupted by a period of cool weather

intransitive verb

: to break in upon an action especially : to break in with questions or remarks while another is speaking


in·ter·rupt | \ˌin-tə-ˈrəpt, ˈin-tə-ˌrəpt\

Definition of interrupt (Entry 2 of 2)

: a feature of a computer that permits the temporary interruption of one activity (such as the execution of a program) in order to perform another also : the interruption itself

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Other Words from interrupt


interruptible \ˌin-tə-ˈrəp-tə-bəl \ adjective
interruption \ˌin-tə-ˈrəp-shən \ noun
interruptive \ˌin-tə-ˈrəp-tiv \ adverb

Synonyms for interrupt

Synonyms: Verb

break in, chime in, cut in, interpose, intrude

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Examples of interrupt in a Sentence


It's not polite to interrupt. His dinner was interrupted by a phone call. We interrupt this program to bring you a special announcement. Every summer periods of cool weather occasionally interrupt the intense heat.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The group was learning how to make a rocket when the show was interrupted because of the fire. Soumya Karlamangla,, "Brush fire near Griffith Park prompts evacuation of observatory," 11 July 2018 Officers later found out the suspect had shot the two children, but was interrupted by Edo. Grant Suneson And John Harrington, USA TODAY, "The 25 most heroic dogs in America," 5 July 2018 Fans of The Bachelorette were not happy when their show was interrupted with an ABC News special report about President Trump meeting Kim Jong-Un. Mallorie Sullivan,, "'The Bachelorette': Jean Blanc gets sent home after one of the most awkward moments ever," 18 June 2018 But Fendel finished higher than seemed probable after his training was interrupted by spring illnesses. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "IHSAA boys track and field: Plymouth's Nate Patterson narrowly misses national record," 2 June 2018 The chorus had to stand around staring cluelessly at deeply personal outpourings of grief; almost every aria—a slow cavatina followed by a fast cabaletta—was interrupted by some startling piece of news to justify the radical change of mood. Heidi Waleson, WSJ, "A Pair of U.S. Premieres at Spoleto Festival USA," 29 May 2018 When one of her answers was interrupted by an announcement over the loudspeaker, Patrick jokingly compared it to the musical cue to cut a speech short at the Academy Awards. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Despite an abrupt Indy 500 exit, Danica Patrick's legacy is cemented," 27 May 2018 Prunty, the 2012 track champion, scored his 50th super-late model victory in face that was interrupted seven times by yellow flags. Dave Kallmann, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A track opener — even a ragged one — is just the cure for a racing fan's spring fever," 29 Apr. 2018 Aside from that, Zama wanders through scenes that are by turns dreamlike and horrifying, from a torture sequence involving branding irons to a sleepy group sponge bath to an (indoor) conversation that’s interrupted by a friendly llama. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Zama Is a Surreal Satire of Colonialism," 19 Apr. 2018

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


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


1957, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for interrupt


Middle English, from Latin interruptus, past participle of interrumpere, from inter- + rumpere to break — more at reave

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Statistics for interrupt

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for interrupt

The first known use of interrupt was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for interrupt



English Language Learners Definition of interrupt

: to ask questions or say things while another person is speaking : to do or say something that causes someone to stop speaking

: to cause (something) to stop happening for a time

: to cause (something) to not be even or continuous : to change or stop the sameness or smoothness of (something)


in·ter·rupt | \ˌin-tə-ˈrəpt \
interrupted; interrupting

Kids Definition of interrupt

1 : to stop or hinder by breaking in Don't interrupt our conversation.

2 : to break the sameness or course of A loud crash interrupted the silence.

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Comments on interrupt

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


a state of commotion or excitement

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