sudden or unexpected: an abrupt departure.
curt or brusque in speech, manner, etc.: an abrupt reply.
terminating or changing suddenly: an abrupt turn in a road.
having many sudden changes from one subject to another; lacking in continuity or smoothness: an abrupt writing style.
steep; precipitous: an abrupt descent.
Botany. truncate(def 4).

Origin of abrupt

1575–85; < Latin abruptus broken off (past participle of abrumpere), equivalent to ab- ab- + -rup- break + -tus past participle suffix
Related formsab·rupt·ly, adverbab·rupt·ness, nounun·ab·rupt·ly, adverb

Synonyms for abrupt

1, 3. quick, sharp. See sudden. 2. short, hurried, hasty, blunt. 4. discontinuous, broken, uneven.

Antonyms for abrupt

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for abrupt

Contemporary Examples of abrupt

Historical Examples of abrupt

  • The interrogation came with an abrupt force that cried of new suspicions.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The Colonel, who could not hear the remark, wondered at the abrupt pause in the game.

    The Little Colonel

    Annie Fellows Johnston

  • Her abrupt entry into the room, while he was in bed, startled him.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • I must be abrupt; for I am so circumstanced, that I have not a moment's time to spare.

  • He was roused from this self-commune by an abrupt exclamation from his companion.

    Night and Morning, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

British Dictionary definitions for abrupt



sudden; unexpected
brusque or brief in speech, manner, etc; curt
(of a style of writing or speaking) making sharp transitions from one subject to another; disconnected
precipitous; steep
botany shaped as though a part has been cut off; truncate
geology (of strata) cropping out suddenly
Derived Formsabruptly, adverbabruptness, noun

Word Origin for abrupt

C16: from Latin abruptus broken off, from ab- 1 + rumpere to break
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for abrupt

1580s, from Latin abruptus "broken off, precipitous, disconnected," past participle of abrumpere "break off," from ab- "off" (see ab-) + rumpere "break" (see rupture (n.)). Related: Abruptly; abruptness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper