abrupt

adjective
\ ə-ˈbrəpt How to pronounce abrupt (audio) \

Definition of abrupt

1a : characterized by or involving action or change without preparation or warning : sudden and unexpected came to an abrupt stop an abrupt turn an abrupt decision to retire
b : rudely or unceremoniously curt She has an abrupt manner. an abrupt reply
c : lacking smoothness or continuity an abrupt transition
2 : giving the impression of being cut or broken off especially : involving a sudden steep rise or drop abrupt hills a high abrupt bank bounded the stream

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Other Words from abrupt

abruptness \ ə-​ˈbrəp(t)-​nəs How to pronounce abrupt (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for abrupt

precipitate, headlong, abrupt, impetuous, sudden mean showing undue haste or unexpectedness. precipitate stresses lack of due deliberation and implies prematureness of action. the army's precipitate withdrawal headlong stresses rashness and lack of forethought. a headlong flight from arrest abrupt stresses curtness and a lack of warning or ceremony. an abrupt refusal impetuous stresses extreme impatience or impulsiveness. an impetuous lover proposing marriage sudden stresses unexpectedness and sharpness or violence of action. flew into a sudden rage

steep, abrupt, precipitous, sheer mean having an incline approaching the perpendicular. steep implies such sharpness of pitch that ascent or descent is very difficult. a steep hill a steep dive abrupt implies a sharper pitch and a sudden break in the level. a beach with an abrupt drop-off precipitous applies to an incline approaching the vertical. the river winds through a precipitous gorge sheer suggests an unbroken perpendicular expanse. sheer cliffs that daunted the climbers

Did you know?

We’ll break it to you gently: abrupt derives from abruptus, the past participle of the Latin verb abrumpere, meaning "to break off." Abrumpere combines the prefix ab- with rumpere, which means "break" and which forms the basis for several other words in English that suggest a kind of breaking, such as interrupt, rupture, and bankrupt. Whether being used to describe a style of speaking that seems rudely short (as in "gave an abrupt answer"), something with a severe rise or drop ("abrupt climate change"), or something that seems rash and unprecipitated ("made the abrupt decision to quit college"), abrupt, which first appeared in English in the 16th century, implies a kind of jarring unexpectedness that catches people off guard.

Examples of abrupt in a Sentence

There was an abrupt change in the weather. The road came to an abrupt end. The storm caused an abrupt power failure. She has an abrupt manner.
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Recent Examples on the Web Her abrupt departure from the airwaves in December 2020 stunned her fans. Christy Gutowski, chicagotribune.com, 14 Oct. 2021 Upon his abrupt departure on Monday night, a settlement package with the Raiders had not been finalized, a person with knowledge of Gruden’s contract told USA TODAY Sports on Tuesday. Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY, 13 Oct. 2021 Falck also is facing criticism over the abrupt departure of the company’s chief executive a few days after Falck landed the San Diego ambulance contract last spring. David Garrick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7 Oct. 2021 In July, two other major student loan servicers — Granite State Management and Resources, and FedLoan Servicing (which handles the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program) — also announced their abrupt departure. Adam S. Minsky, Forbes, 28 Sep. 2021 Quarterback Charlie Brewer’s abrupt departure from the University of Utah on Tuesday cemented what may have been inevitable anyway: the Cam Rising era has begun. Josh Newman, The Salt Lake Tribune, 25 Sep. 2021 This was an abrupt departure from the CDU’s longtime position on migration. Lenora Chu, The Christian Science Monitor, 20 Sep. 2021 The investigation was slowed by the coronavirus pandemic and experienced leadership tumult after the abrupt departure last fall of a top deputy on Durham's team. Arkansas Online, 17 Sep. 2021 The investigation was slowed by the coronavirus pandemic and experienced leadership tumult following the abrupt departure last fall of a top deputy on Durham’s team. Eric Tucker, courant.com, 16 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'abrupt.' 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 abrupt

1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for abrupt

borrowed from Latin abruptus "steep, sheer, broken or cut off too short," from past participle of abrumpere "to break, rupture, break off short," from ab- ab- + rumpere "to cause to break or burst," going back to Indo-European *ru-n-p-, nasal present formation from the base *reu̯p- "break, tear" — more at reave

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Abrupt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/abrupt. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for abrupt

abrupt

adjective
\ ə-ˈbrəpt How to pronounce abrupt (audio) \

Kids Definition of abrupt

1 : happening without warning : sudden The meeting came to an abrupt end.
2 : steep entry 1 sense 1 an abrupt drop
3 : rudely brief an abrupt reply

Other Words from abrupt

abruptly adverb
abruptness noun

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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