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 abruptness

Contemporary Examples of abruptness

Historical Examples of abruptness

  • With an abruptness that almost awakened her, he carried her in to his wife.


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • The abruptness of the action did not create any emotion in him—his thoughts were absent.

  • Noting she looked hurt at his abruptness, he kissed her quickly.

    The End of Time

    Wallace West

  • He admitted the impeachment in the midst of his astonishment with an abruptness equal to her own.

    The Golden Woman

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • He stopped in the middle of the room with an abruptness which portended something.

    The Lure of the Mask

    Harold MacGrath

British Dictionary definitions for abruptness



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 abruptness



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