from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Unexpectedly sudden.
  • adjective Surprisingly curt; brusque.
  • adjective Touching on one subject after another with sudden transitions.
  • adjective Steeply inclined. synonym: steep.
  • adjective Botany Terminating suddenly rather than gradually; truncate.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To break off; interrupt; disturb.
  • Broken or appearing as if broken away or off; marked by or showing a sudden breach or change of continuity; wanting continuation or completion: as, the path or the discourse came to an abrupt termination; an abrupt turn in a road. Hence Steep; precipitous: as, an abrupt cliff; an abrupt descent.
  • Figuratively, sudden; without notice to prepare the mind for the event; unceremonious: as, an abrupt entrance or address.
  • Lacking in continuity; having sudden transitions from one subject to another: as, an abrupt style.
  • In botany, terminating suddenly: as, an abrupt point: sometimes used in the sense of truncate: as, an abrupt leaf.
  • noun An abrupt place; a precipice or chasm.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Poetic An abrupt place.
  • transitive verb obsolete To tear off or asunder.
  • adjective Broken off; very steep, or craggy, as rocks, precipices, banks; precipitous; steep.
  • adjective Without notice to prepare the mind for the event; sudden; hasty; unceremonious.
  • adjective Having sudden transitions from one subject to another; unconnected.
  • adjective (Bot.) Suddenly terminating, as if cut off.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective extremely steep
  • adjective surprisingly and unceremoniously brusque in manner
  • adjective marked by sudden changes in subject and sharp transitions
  • adjective exceedingly sudden and unexpected


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin abruptus, past participle of abrumpere, to break off : ab-, away; see ab– + rumpere, to break; see reup- in Indo-European roots.]


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