disintegration; disruption; dispersal.
the ending of a personal, especially a romantic, relationship.
(in Alaska and Canada)
  1. the melting and loosening of ice in rivers and harbors during the early spring.
  2. the first day on which such ice is soft or dispersed enough to permit ships to use the waterways.
Informal. an act or instance of being convulsed with laughter.
temporary distortion in a televised picture.

Origin of breakup

First recorded in 1785–95; noun use of verb phrase break up Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for breakup

Contemporary Examples of breakup

Historical Examples of breakup

  • It was a picture of the breakup of the Outer Federation, and in some ways worse than the other wars.


    Lester del Rey

  • If we get there before the breakup, we may cross on the ice.

    Johnny Longbow

    Roy J. Snell

  • Somehow or other she'd made it across Willow Brook and the breakup had kept her there.

    The Duck-footed Hound

    James Arthur Kjelgaard

  • They hadn't said much—because they had liked Rakhal—when the breakup came.

    The Door Through Space

    Marion Zimmer Bradley

  • McNeil—or perhaps both he and Ashe—had survived the breakup of the raft, after all.

    The Time Traders

    Andre Norton

Word Origin and History for breakup

also break-up, 1795, from verbal expression break up (mid-15c.), which was used originally of plowland, later of groups, assemblies, etc. Of things (also of marriages, relationships), "to disintegrate," from mid-18c. See break (v.) + up (adv.). Break it up as a command to stop a fight, etc., is recorded from 1936.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper