AskDefine | Define abrupt

Dictionary Definition

abrupt adj
1 marked by sudden changes in subject and sharp transitions; "abrupt prose" [syn: disconnected]
2 exceedingly sudden and unexpected; "came to an abrupt stop"; "an abrupt change in the weather"
3 extremely steep; "an abrupt canyon"; "the precipitous rapids of the upper river"; "the precipitous hills of Chinese paintings"; "a sharp drop" [syn: precipitous, sharp]
4 surprisingly and unceremoniously brusque in manner; "an abrupt reply"

User Contributed Dictionary



abruptus, past participle of abrumpere "to break off", formed from ab- + rumpere "to break".


  1. Broken off; very steep or craggy, as rocks, precipices, banks; precipitous; as, abrupt places.
    Tumbling through ricks abrupt. - Thomson
  2. Without notice to prepare the mind for the event; sudden; hasty; unceremonious.
    The cause of your abrupt departure. - Shakespeare, Henry VI Part I, II-iii
  3. Curt in manner; rude; uncivil; impolite.
  4. Having sudden transitions from one subject or state to another; unconnected.
    • The party came to an abrupt end when the parents of our host arrived.
    • The abrupt style, which hath many breaches. - B. Jonson
  5. Suddenly terminating, as if cut off; truncate; truncata.


broken off or very steep
  • Danish: brat
  • Dutch: steil
  • Finnish: äkkijyrkkä
  • French: abrupt
  • German: steil
  • Italian: brusco, brusca
  • Norwegian: brå, bratt (steep)
  • Novial: abrupt, abrupti
  • Portuguese: brusco, abrupto
  • Spanish: abrupto, brusco
sudden or hasty
curt in manner
having sudden transitions from one state to next
  • Dutch: hortend
  • Finnish: äkillinen
  • Italian: discontinuo, discontinua, sconnesso, sconnessa
  • Norwegian: plutselig
  • Portuguese: brusco, abrupto
  • Spanish: brusco, abrupto
botany: truncated


  1. To tear off or asunder.
    Till death abrupts them. - Sir T. Browne
  2. To interrupt suddenly.


to tear off or asunder
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