Definition of abrupt in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈbrʌpt/


1Sudden and unexpected: I was surprised by the abrupt change of subject the match came to an abrupt end
More example sentences
  • I just think I've had too many sudden, abrupt, unexpected, and unwelcome changes in my plans to be able to commit to more plans in advance.
  • A completely unexpected and abrupt ending saw my jaw drop.
  • The fairy tale romance has come to an abrupt and totally unexpected end.
sudden, immediate, instantaneous, hurried, hasty, quick, swift, rapid, speedy, precipitate;
unexpected, surprising, startling, unanticipated, unforeseen, without warning;
violent, headlong, breakneck, meteoric
2Brief to the point of rudeness; curt: you were rather abrupt with that young man
More example sentences
  • Having said that, I do not think I deserved the very abrupt and curt way in which I was treated by Mr Hutchinson on trying to explain the situation to him.
  • Deron's expression showed nothing, though I knew he must be surprised by the abrupt rudeness of it.
  • ‘They were quite abrupt and offhand,’ says Elliot, who is now 39.
curt, brusque, blunt, short, sharp, terse, brisk, crisp, gruff, snappish, snappy, unceremonious, offhand, cavalier, rough, harsh;
rude, discourteous, uncivil, surly, churlish;
bluff, no-nonsense, to the point, laconic
informal off
2.1(Of a style of speech or writing) not flowing smoothly; disjointed: abrupt, epigrammatic paragraphs an occasionally abrupt narrative
More example sentences
  • Jordan, unfortunately, compounds this weakness with an abrupt style.
  • The text breaks into the temple of Russian literature with its lively and trembling, shocking and abrupt style.
  • Despite her abrupt style winning her as many friends as it did enemies, there was no denying that she deserved to be there.
jerky, uneven, irregular, disconnected, discontinuous, broken, rough, inelegant
3Steep; precipitous: the abrupt double peak
More example sentences
  • She glanced at it briefly, taking in the trembling peaks and abrupt cliffs and faces.
  • And then, the western flank of the Wasatch Mountains rises up, sheer and abrupt, to shock as much snow from the clouds as possible.
  • The result is an interplay between the pulsating red ground, the closer-hued biomorphic forms and the abrupt vertical black elements.
steep, sheer, precipitous, bluff, sharp, sudden, acute;
perpendicular, vertical, dizzy, vertiginous
rare declivitous



Pronunciation: /əˈbrʌptnəs/
Example sentences
  • The notion that bureaucratic infighting and occasional abruptness of manner should disqualify one from high office is laughable.
  • The abruptness of the closure announcement has left them shocked and desperately searching for an alternative venue.
  • Although they had long feared for the future of their club, they were not prepared for the abruptness of the end.


Late 16th century: from Latin abruptus 'broken off, steep', past participle of abrumpere, from ab- 'away, from' + rumpere 'break'.

  • The Latin source of this word was abrumpere ‘broken off, steep’, from rumpere ‘to break’. In the past, abrupt could be used as a noun meaning ‘abyss’ (Milton Paradise Lost: ‘Upborn with indefatigable wings Over the vast abrupt’).

Words that rhyme with abrupt

corrupt, disrupt, erupt, interrupt, irrupt

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: abrupt

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