See more synonyms for abrupt on Thesaurus.com
  1. sudden or unexpected: an abrupt departure.
  2. curt or brusque in speech, manner, etc.: an abrupt reply.
  3. terminating or changing suddenly: an abrupt turn in a road.
  4. having many sudden changes from one subject to another; lacking in continuity or smoothness: an abrupt writing style.
  5. steep; precipitous: an abrupt descent.
  6. 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

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
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. 2018

Related Words for abruptly

suddenly, unexpectedly

Examples from the Web for abruptly

Contemporary Examples of abruptly

Historical Examples of abruptly

  • "I suppose you want to be taken back," said the superintendent, abruptly.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Then, abruptly, the round, baby-like face of the woman puckered in amazement.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Then abruptly, the young man spoke with the energy of perfect faith in the woman.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • Then, abruptly, the blue eyes were softened in their fires, as by the sudden nearness of tears.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The girl in the bed eyed her, and then abruptly drew her hand away.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

British Dictionary definitions for abruptly


  1. sudden; unexpected
  2. brusque or brief in speech, manner, etc; curt
  3. (of a style of writing or speaking) making sharp transitions from one subject to another; disconnected
  4. precipitous; steep
  5. botany shaped as though a part has been cut off; truncate
  6. 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