Meaning of “break up” in the English Dictionary

"break up" in British English

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break up

phrasal verb with break uk /breɪk/ us /breɪk/ verb broke, broken


B1 If a marriage breaks up or two people in a romantic relationship break up, their marriage or their relationship ends:

Jenny and George have broken up.
She's just broken up with her boyfriend.

More examples

  • I was consoling Liz on having broken up with her boyfriend.
  • Their marriage broke up as a result of long separations.
  • She had a string of lovers before her marriage finally broke up.
  • He got into serious debt after his marriage broke up.
  • She met her second husband not long after her first marriage broke up.


uk /ˈbreɪk.ʌp/ us /ˈbreɪk.ʌp/

(Definition of “break up” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"break up" in American English

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break up

phrasal verb with break us /breɪk/ verb


(of a telephone conversation) to become impossible to understand because the connection is not strong enough:

He was on the subway when he called and started to break up before I could answer.

(Definition of “break up” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"break-up" in Business English

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break-upnoun [ C ]

uk /ˈbreɪkʌp/ us

a division of a company, etc. into smaller parts:

AT&T divided into three companies, making this the biggest voluntary corporate break-up in history.

the end of a business or a relationship:

The sale of the company's real estate and other assets was the first sign of its eventual break-up and closure.

(Definition of “break-up” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)