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

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

Synonyms for abrupt

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Antonyms for abrupt

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

Synonyms for abrupt

Words Related to abrupt

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Antonyms for abrupt

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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

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Time Traveler for abrupt

Time Traveler

The first known use of abrupt was in 1576

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Cite this Entry

“Abrupt.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on abrupt

Nglish: Translation of abrupt for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of abrupt for Arabic Speakers


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