[ breyk-uhp ]
See synonyms for breakup on
  1. disintegration; disruption; dispersal.

  2. the ending of a personal, especially a romantic, relationship.

  1. (in Alaska and Canada)

    • the melting and loosening of ice in rivers and harbors during the early spring.

    • the first day on which such ice is soft or dispersed enough to permit ships to use the waterways.

  2. Informal. an act or instance of being convulsed with laughter.

  3. temporary distortion in a televised picture.

Origin of breakup

First recorded in 1785–95; noun use of verb phrase break up

Words Nearby breakup Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use breakup in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for break up

break up

  1. to separate or cause to separate

  2. to put an end to (a relationship) or (of a relationship) to come to an end

  1. to dissolve or cause to dissolve; disrupt or be disrupted: the meeting broke up at noon

  2. (intr) British (of a school) to close for the holidays

  3. (intr) (of a person making a telephone call) to be inaudible at times, owing to variations in the signal: you're breaking up

  4. informal to lose or cause to lose control of the emotions: the news of his death broke her up

  5. slang to be or cause to be overcome with laughter

  1. a separation or disintegration

  2. Canadian

    • in the Canadian north, the breaking up of the ice on a body of water that marks the beginning of spring

    • this season

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with breakup


Divide into many pieces; disintegrate. For example, Now break up the head of garlic into separate cloves. [Mid-1700s]

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.