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break up - definition and synonyms


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phrasal verb
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theybreak up
he/she/itbreaks up
present participlebreaking up
past tensebroke up
past participlebroken up
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  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 plane broke up in mid-air.
      Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] if a relationship breaks up, it ends
    The marriage broke up just a few years later.
    There were suggestions that her involvement had broken up the partnership.
    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 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
    The police were called in to break up the rioters.
  5. 5
    [intransitive] if the sound on a radio or mobile 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. 7
    [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.
See also main entry: break


a course of study which is much shorter than a university course and focuses on the skills you need for a job, especially computer-related skills

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an ancient Roman system of underfloor heating, used to heat houses with hot air; from the Latin 'hypocaustum'

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