[ verb in-tuh-ruhpt; noun in-tuh-ruhpt ]
See synonyms for: interruptinterruptedinterrupting on

verb (used with object)
  1. to cause or make a break in the continuity or uniformity of (a course, process, condition, etc.).

  2. to break off or cause to cease, as in the middle of something: He interrupted his work to answer the bell.

  1. to stop (a person) in the midst of doing or saying something, especially by an interjected remark: May I interrupt you to comment on your last remark?

verb (used without object)
  1. to cause a break or discontinuance; interfere with action or speech, especially by interjecting a remark: Please don't interrupt.

  1. Computers. a hardware signal that breaks the flow of program execution and transfers control to a predetermined storage location so that another procedure can be followed or a new operation carried out.

Origin of interrupt

First recorded in 1375–1425; late Middle English interrupten, from Latin interruptus, past participle of interrumpere “to break apart,” equivalent to inter- “between, among, together” + rup-, variant stem of rumpere “to burst” + -tus past participle suffix; see inter-, rupture

synonym study For interrupt

1, 3. Interrupt, discontinue, suspend imply breaking off something temporarily or permanently. Interrupt may have either meaning: to interrupt a meeting. To discontinue is to stop or leave off, often permanently: to discontinue a building program. To suspend is to break off relations, operations, proceedings, privileges, etc., for a certain period of time, usually with the stipulation that they will be resumed at a stated time: to suspend operations during a strike.

Other words for interrupt

Opposites for interrupt

Other words from interrupt

  • in·ter·rupt·ed·ly, adverb
  • in·ter·rupt·ed·ness, noun
  • in·ter·rupt·i·ble, adjective
  • in·ter·rup·tive, adjective
  • non·in·ter·rupt·i·ble, adjective
  • non·in·ter·rup·tive, adjective
  • re·in·ter·rupt, verb
  • self-in·ter·rupt·ing, adjective
  • un·in·ter·rupt·i·ble, adjective
  • un·in·ter·rupt·ing, adjective
  • un·in·ter·rup·tive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use interrupt in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for interrupt


/ (ˌɪntəˈrʌpt) /

  1. to break the continuity of (an action, event, etc) or hinder (a person) by intrusion

  2. (tr) to cease to perform (some action)

  1. (tr) to obstruct (a view)

  2. to prevent or disturb (a conversation, discussion, etc) by questions, interjections, or comment

  1. the signal to initiate the stopping of the running of one computer program in order to run another, after which the running of the original program is usually continued

Origin of interrupt

C15: from Latin interrumpere, from inter- + rumpere to break

Derived forms of interrupt

  • interruptible, adjective
  • interruptive, adjective
  • interruptively, adverb

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