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 abruptly

Contemporary Examples of abruptly

Historical Examples of abruptly

  • He was in the midst of a story, all life and animation, when the gruff words of the sentinel broke in so abruptly upon him.

    The Frontier Angel

    Edward S. Ellis

  • Finally, when he saw that he had won interest and sympathy from Iden he abruptly launched his purpose.

  • The ground began slightly to slope, and then abruptly to rise.

    Godfrey Morgan

    Jules Verne

  • The older lady sat a moment irresolute; then she restored her arm to the shoulder from which it had been so abruptly displaced.


    Edith Wharton

  • "Books on etiquette is what you want to study," said John Hopkins, abruptly.

British Dictionary definitions for abruptly



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 abruptly



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