in·​ter·​rupt | \ ˌin-tə-ˈrəpt How to pronounce interrupt (audio) \
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 How to pronounce interrupt (audio) , 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 How to pronounce interruptible (audio) \ adjective
interruption \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈrəp-​shən How to pronounce interruption (audio) \ noun
interruptive \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈrəp-​tiv How to pronounce interruptive (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for interrupt

Synonyms: Verb

break in, chime in, chip in [chiefly British], 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

On Wednesday, Gore scattered four hits and two walks in his best start of a season that had been interrupted by two DL stints because of blisters. Jeff Sanders,, "MacKenzie Gore collects first professional win," 5 July 2018 Mulligan has periodically interrupted her screen career (An Education, Mudbound) to appear on our stages, delivering knockout turns on Broadway in The Seagull and Skylight, and off-Broadway in Through a Glass Darkly. Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Girls & Boys': Theater Review," 28 June 2018 Lalas declined commend and the incident has not interrupted his work with Fox. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "Alexi Lalas confronted by angry fan at World Cup in Moscow," 19 June 2018 As players sat in front of their respective lockers, coach Peter Vermes interrupted the quiet with a message best described as a warning. Sam Mcdowell, kansascity, "How a grueling practice rejuvenated Sporting KC (and what that says about this team)," 8 June 2018 The Mariner East 2, the first of the two new pipelines, is nearing completion, though the project has been interrupted and pushed back several times because of regulatory and legal challenges. Andrew Maykuth,, "How Sunoco's Mariner East pipeline is affecting real estate prices in Pa's Chester and Delaware Counties," 1 June 2018 Angelo Kyle, then 10, was watching TV on April 4, 1968 — 50 years ago Wednesday — when the news interrupted with the announcement King had been shot. Emily K. Coleman, Lake County News-Sun, "'A constant struggle': Lake County leaders see progress since Martin Luther King Jr. assassination, but a long way to go," 3 Apr. 2018 This dominance was briefly interrupted when Neuer was called into action for the first time 10 minutes in. Joe Marcovitch, Pro Soccer USA, "Germany 0-1 Mexico: Reigning champions stunned by magnificent El Tri in World Cup opener," 17 June 2018 There was concern about preserving investments in our defense base, so that strategic projects wouldn’t be interrupted. Samy Adghirni,, "Brazil Optimistic on Boeing-Embraer Deal," 23 May 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

24 Mar 2019

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 How to pronounce interrupt (audio) \
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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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