1. Unexpectedly sudden: an abrupt change in the weather.
2. Surprisingly curt; brusque: an abrupt answer made in anger.
3. Touching on one subject after another with sudden transitions: abrupt prose.
4. Steeply inclined. See Synonyms at steep1.
5. Botany Terminating suddenly rather than gradually; truncate: an abrupt leaf.
[Latin abruptus, past participle of abrumpere, to break off : ab-, away; see AB-1 + rumpere, to break; see reup- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.