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Borrowed from Latin disruptus, from disrumpo, commonly dirumpo (to break or burst asunder), from dis-, di- (apart, asunder) + rumpo (to break).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /dɪsˈɹʌpt/, /dɪzˈɹʌpt/, /dɪzˈɹʊpt/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ʌpt


disrupt (third-person singular simple present disrupts, present participle disrupting, simple past and past participle disrupted)

  1. (transitive) To throw into confusion or disorder.
    Hecklers disrupted the man's speech.
  2. (transitive) To interrupt or impede.
    Work on the tunnel was disrupted by a strike.
    • 1961 February, “Talking of Trains: The Glasgow debacle”, in Trains Illustrated, page 66:
      The Glaswegians bore good-humouredly the mishaps which occasionally disrupted the services during the first month.
    • 2013 July 19, Ian Sample, “Irregular bedtimes may affect children’s brains”, in The Guardian Weekly[1], volume 189, number 6, page 34:
      Irregular bedtimes may disrupt healthy brain development in young children, according to a study of intelligence and sleeping habits.  ¶ Going to bed at a different time each night affected girls more than boys, but both fared worse on mental tasks than children who had a set bedtime, researchers found.
    • 2017, Anthony J. McMichael, Alistair Woodward, Cameron Muir, Climate Change and the Health of Nations, →ISBN, page 51:
      In the Canadian and Alaskan Arctic region, where 2°C warming has already occurred since 1950, the loss of coastal sea ice and permafrost is disrupting traditional Inuit hunting routines.
    • 2023 November 15, Prof. Jim Wild, “This train was delayed because of bad weather in space”, in RAIL, number 996, page 30:
      The scientific instruments of the day recorded rapid fluctuations in the Earth's magnetic field, as powerful electrical currents flowed through the upper atmosphere. Ships' logs noted observations of the northern lights as far south as the Caribbean, and telegraph systems across the world were disrupted as electrical currents were induced in the copper lines.
  3. (transitive) To improve a product or service in ways that displace an established one and surprise the market.
    The internet makes it easier for leaner businesses to disrupt the larger and more unwieldy ones.

Related terms[edit]



disrupt (comparative more disrupt, superlative most disrupt)

  1. (obsolete) Torn off or torn asunder; severed; disrupted.

Further reading[edit]