Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

break up - definition and synonyms

Close
What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close
ThesaurusThesaurus
Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
phrasal verb
Word Forms
Close
present tense
I/you/we/theybreak up
he/she/itbreaks up
present participlebreaking up
past tensebroke up
past participlebroken up
  1. 1
    [transitive] to break something to make smaller pieces

    Break the chocolate up into squares.

    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      [intransitive] if something breaks up, it breaks into smaller pieces

      The airplane broke up in midair.

      Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] if a relationship breaks up, it ends

    The marriage broke up just a few years later.

    1. a.
      [intransitive/transitive] if two people break up, they end their relationship
      break up with:

      He’s just broken up with his girlfriend.

  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] if a meeting or other event breaks up, or if you break it up, it ends and the people leave

    The talks didn’t break up until after midnight.

    Sorry to break up the party, but I have to go.

  4. 4
    [transitive] to stop a fight

    Campus police were called in to break up the rioters.

  5. 5
    [intransitive] if the sound on a radio or cell phone breaks up, you can no longer hear the person who is speaking on it

    I can’t hear you, you’re breaking up.

  6. 6
    [transitive] to divide a large area or a period of time into smaller parts so that it does not seem so big or long

    I usually go for a walk around three o’clock to break up the afternoon.

  7. 7
    [transitive] break someone up informal to make someone laugh a lot
  8. From our crowdsourced Open Dictionary
    8
    break it up used to tell people to stop fighting

    Come on, break it up, you two!

    Submitted by Caleb Judy from United States on 14/05/2017
See also main entry: break
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
BuzzWord

gaslight

to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play