Thesaurus

abrupt

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of abrupt

1 being or characterized by direct, brief, and potentially rude speech or manner
  • the policeman's abrupt manner discouraged me from trying to claim that I hadn't seen the red light

Synonyms for abrupt

Words Related to abrupt

Near Antonyms for abrupt

Antonyms for abrupt

2 having an incline approaching the perpendicular
  • the gentle, rolling hills gradually give way to high mountains with abrupt sides

Synonyms for abrupt

Words Related to abrupt

Near Antonyms for abrupt

Antonyms for abrupt

3 not expected
  • his abrupt reappearance seems to have caught everyone off guard

Synonyms for abrupt

Words Related to abrupt

Near Antonyms for abrupt

Antonyms for abrupt

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About abrupt

How is the word abrupt different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of abrupt are precipitous, sheer, and steep. While all these words mean "having an incline approaching the perpendicular," abrupt implies a sharper pitch and a sudden break in the level.

a beach with an abrupt drop-off

When could precipitous be used to replace abrupt?

The words precipitous and abrupt are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, precipitous applies to an incline approaching the vertical.

the river winds through a precipitous gorge

When is sheer a more appropriate choice than abrupt?

The words sheer and abrupt can be used in similar contexts, but sheer suggests an unbroken perpendicular expanse.

sheer cliffs that daunted the climbers

When would steep be a good substitute for abrupt?

The synonyms steep and abrupt are sometimes interchangeable, but steep implies such sharpness of pitch that ascent or descent is very difficult.

a steep hill

a steep dive

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about abrupt

Time Traveler for abrupt

Time Traveler

The first known use of abrupt was in 1565

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about abrupt

Cite this Entry

“Abrupt.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/abrupt. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on abrupt

Dictionary: Definition of abrupt

Nglish: Translation of abrupt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abrupt for Arabic Speakers

Comments on abrupt

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!