verb in·ter·rupt \ ˌin-tə-ˈrəpt \
|Updated on: 14 Jul 2018

Definition of interrupt

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


play \ˌin-tə-ˈrəp-tə-bəl\ adjective


play \ˌin-tə-ˈrəp-shən\ noun


play \ˌin-tə-ˈrəp-tiv\ adverb

Examples of interrupt in a Sentence

  1. It's not polite to interrupt.

  2. His dinner was interrupted by a phone call.

  3. We interrupt this program to bring you a special announcement.

  4. Every summer periods of cool weather occasionally interrupt the intense heat.

Recent Examples of interrupt from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of interrupt

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

interrupt Synonyms



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

Definition of interrupt

: 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

First Known Use of interrupt


in the meaning defined above

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INTERRUPT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of interrupt for English Language Learners

  • : 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)

INTERRUPT Defined for Kids


verb in·ter·rupt \ ˌin-tə-ˈrəpt \

Definition of interrupt for Students

interrupted; interrupting
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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