break·​up | \ ˈbrāk-ˌəp How to pronounce breakup (audio) \

Definition of breakup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of breaking up
2 : the breaking, melting, and loosening of ice in the spring

break up

broke up; broken up; breaking up; breaks up

Definition of break up (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to cease to exist as a unified whole : disperse their partnership broke up
b : to end a romance
2 : to lose morale, composure, or resolution especially : to become abandoned to laughter breaks up completely, laughing himself into a coughing fit — Gene Williams

transitive verb

1 : to break into pieces
2 : to bring to an end broke up the fight
3 : to do away with : destroy break up a monopoly
4 : to disrupt the continuity or flow of break up a dull routine
5 : decompose break up a chemical
6 : to cause to laugh heartily

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of breakup in a Sentence

Noun Money problems often lead to marital breakups. She's just gone through a bad breakup with her boyfriend. He began drinking heavily following the breakup of his marriage. a couple heading for marital breakup What caused the breakup of the Roman Empire? the breakup of a monopoly the breakup of an asteroid as it hits the Earth's atmosphere Verb the band broke up when their arguments over money grew too stressful the meeting broke up when all the business for the day had been completed
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Trump's dismissiveness of Grisham's book -- and Grisham -- as nothing more than a bitter woman on the wrong end of a breakup is appalling even by his decidedly low standards. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 28 Sep. 2021 Both are tied for fifth on the team with 10 tackles each and Wright has an additional sack, two hurries and pass breakup. Evan Dudley, al, 23 Sep. 2021 Second-year freshman Bradyn Swinson started in Thibodeaux’s place against Ohio State and had five tackles with a sack and pass breakup en route to Pac-12 defensive lineman of the week honors. James Crepea | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 20 Sep. 2021 Prior to news of the breakup, an insider revealed to PEOPLE that Amelia and Disick were having issues. Gabrielle Chung,, 7 Sep. 2021 That included an interception and pass breakup against Clemson in 2018 to first grab the attention of the Bears scouting staff, who viewed him as quick, athletic and able to play in the slot or outside. Colleen Kane,, 7 Aug. 2021 After a few years, Beard and then Mr. Hill joined ZZ Top, which emerged out of the breakup of Gibbons’s psychedelic band the Moving Sidewalks. Washington Post, 29 July 2021 The oil-and-gas industry was born out of the breakup of Standard Oil. Collin Eaton, WSJ, 12 July 2021 The plot thickened as amateur social media detectives began looking into the circumstances of the breakup, and the investigation unearthed some details about Marvin that no one (outside of France) saw coming. Ineye Komonibo,, 6 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The only guard who was there was too small to break up the fight. Cory Shaffer, cleveland, 25 Aug. 2021 An Indianapolis man arrested last week in connection to a fatal shooting outside an east-side bar reportedly began shooting after another man attempted to break up a fist fight, court records show. Lawrence Andrea, The Indianapolis Star, 3 Aug. 2021 Officer Anthony Pujols tried to break up a fight, and called for backup. Justin Fenton,, 30 June 2021 And how could someone who cares about you disrespect you so much as to break up by text? Washington Post, 28 June 2021 In Akron, Ohio, in August, 1970, police attempted to break up a fight between Black youths; a gathering crowd attacked them with rocks for several hours. Keeanga-yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker, 24 June 2021 Democrats in recent years have sought to break up this bargain by mandating benefits that undermine contract-business models. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 13 May 2021 Officers in bulletproof vests dispersed pepper spray balls Saturday to break up groups that descended on sunny South Beach by the thousands, trashing restaurants and flooding the streets without masks or social distancing despite COVID restrictions. Bradford Betz, Fox News, 22 Mar. 2021 Why the case matters: The complaint explicitly seeks to break up the company by splitting off the two apps. Ben Brody,, 22 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'breakup.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of breakup


1794, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 3

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About breakup

Time Traveler for breakup

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near breakup

break time


break up

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for breakup

Last Updated

10 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Breakup.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for breakup



English Language Learners Definition of breakup

: the end of a relationship, marriage, etc.
: the separation of something into smaller parts or pieces

More from Merriam-Webster on breakup

Nglish: Translation of breakup for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of breakup for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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