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
interruptive \ ˌin-​tə-​ˈrəp-​tiv How to pronounce interruptive (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for interrupt

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of interrupt in a Sentence

Verb 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 An upper-body injury in the first half at Michigan, however, interrupted Jones’ dream season and had mostly left him sidelined until a 61-yard outing against Boston College. Mike Berardino, Indianapolis Star, "'Next Man In' mentality serves Notre Dame well in the face of injuries," 27 Nov. 2019 She was interrupted by black activists, defended by black allies, and ended the night doing exactly the thing that already has won her the support of many leaders in the black community: listening. Charlotte Alter, Time, "Elizabeth Warren Needs Black Women To Vote For Her. Here's Her Plan to Win Their Support," 22 Nov. 2019 The only blip in the hearing came when it was briefly interrupted by a civil attorney for Kankakee city police officers involved in the federal civil suit, who tried to address the judge. Jeff Coen,, "An Illinois man spent two decades in prison for a murder he didn’t commit but ‘never gave up hope.’ A judge just declared him innocent.," 21 Nov. 2019 From time to time, a thunderous roar interrupts our conversation. Nichole Sobecki, National Geographic, "Exclusive: Inside a controversial South African lion farm," 21 Nov. 2019 Well, there’s a lot of credit to spread around and bottomless praise, and no one interrupts. Mattie Kahn, Glamour, "Four Seasoned Journalists Will Moderate Tonight’s Presidential Debate—They Happen to Be Women," 20 Nov. 2019 The series begins with Steinfeld’s Dickinson composing poetry in her bedroom when she’s interrupted by her sister, Lavinia (Anna Baryshnikov), who tells her that their mother wants her to fetch a pail of water. Kristin Vartan,, "The Dickinson recap binge guide: Episodes 1-10," 11 Nov. 2019 When we’re interrupted, the other person must be a credit-stealing narcissist. Sarah Green Carmichael, Twin Cities, "Sarah Green Carmichael: Why it’s so hard to spot a lie," 6 Nov. 2019 Fine by me: The University of Wisconsin board of regents is set to vote Friday on a policy that would impose mandatory fines on students who interrupt speeches on campus, The Cap Times’ Yvonne Kim reports. cleveland, "The manufacturing sector is in a recession, economists say: The Flyover," 11 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Faced with out-of-bounds readings for the radar’s hardware, each CDU began to issue radar increment and decrement interrupts to the guidance computer—lots of interrupts. Lee Hutchinson, Ars Technica, "No, a “checklist error” did not almost derail the first moon landing," 5 July 2019

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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Time Traveler for interrupt

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for interrupt

Last Updated

1 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Interrupt.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 9 December 2019.

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More Definitions for interrupt


How to pronounce interrupt (audio)

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

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contradictory or incongruous words

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