also, split up
- end a romantic relationship with someone.
- end of a marriage or relationship.
- to become separated after being in a marriage or relationship.
- After having been married for eight years, their decision to break up came as a huge surprise to their friends.
- Tom has finally broken up with the girl he met at the club. Theirs was a relationship that was not meant to last.
- She broke up with her boyfriend after he kept embarrassing her in front of her friends.
- After years of being in a miserable relationship, they finally decided to break up and go their separate ways.
- Celebrity breakups are the toast of the media. In their quest for the latest piece of gossip, they forget that they are dealing with human beings who are going through a difficult time.
- The news of their breakup followed soon after his wife discovered his adulterous relationships.
- They had always come across as a happy and supportive couple, so when they announced that they were breaking up, it came as a surprise to many.
- He broke up with his partner of three years when he found out that she was dating another man.
The idiom “break up” dates back to the early 19th century, when African-American slaves in the United States were first known to use it as slang. During the slave trade, the expression “breaking up” referred to the act of separating families and close friends because slaves were frequently sold to different plantations and forcibly separated from their partners and kids.
See also: split-up meaning.