break up

[break up] {v.} 1. To break into pieces.

The workmen broke up the pavement to dig up the pipes under it.

River ice breaks up in the spring.

2. {informal} To lose or destroy spirit or self-control. - Usually used in the passive.

Mrs. Lawrence was all broken up after her daughter's death, and did not go out of the house for two months.

Compare: CRACK UP, GO TO PIECES.

3. To come or to put to an end, especially by separation; separate.

Some men kept interrupting the speakers, and finally broke up the meeting.

The party broke up at midnight.

- Often used in the informal phrase "break it up".

The boys were fighting, and a passing policeman ordered them to break it up.

Compare: CUT OUT (1).

4. {informal} To stop being friends.

Mary and Jane were good friends and did everything together, but then they had a quarrel and broke up.

Compare: BREAK OFF.