To disrupt means to interrupt or cause disorder or chaos in a process, system, or situation. It involves disturbing the usual flow or functioning of something.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



disturb, interrupt, unsettle, disorder, disarrange, derange, sabotage, upset, break up, interfere with.


maintain, preserve, facilitate, harmonize, stabilize, organize, order.

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun disruption, disruptions
Verb disrupted, disrupts, disrupting, disrupt
Adjective disruptive
Adverb disruptively

Example Sentences

  • The sudden power outage disrupted the entire office, causing employees to stop working and scramble for flashlights.

  • The protesters aimed to disrupt the political rally by blocking the entrances and creating a chaotic atmosphere.

  • The loud construction noise disrupted the students’ concentration during the important exam, affecting their performance.

  • The virus attack on the computer system severely disrupted the company’s operations, leading to financial losses and a decrease in productivity.


The word “disrupt” traces its history back to the Latin root “disrumpere,” meaning “to break apart” or “to burst asunder.” The prefix “dis-” conveys a sense of separation or negation, while the root “-rupt” relates to the act of breaking or shattering. This combination gives “disrupt” its fundamental meaning of causing a disturbance or interruption in the normal course of events.

The term “disrupt” is predominantly used as a transitive verb, meaning it requires an object upon which the disruption is caused. It is commonly employed to describe actions or events that disturb, disarrange, or interfere with the smooth functioning of systems, processes, or situations. This disruption can manifest in various forms, such as interrupting a conversation, disturbing the flow of traffic, or causing chaos in an organization.

In recent years, the term “disrupt” has gained significant popularity and has found its way into numerous contexts. It is frequently used in the business world to describe innovative ideas, products, or technologies that challenge and potentially upend established industries or markets. This usage stems from the concept of “disruptive innovation,” coined by Clayton M. Christensen, which refers to the transformational impact of new and unconventional approaches that disrupt traditional business models.

Furthermore, “disrupt” is often associated with activism and protests, where individuals or groups intentionally disrupt public spaces or events to draw attention to their cause. It can also be used to describe the occurrence of natural disasters, crises, or conflicts that profoundly disturb the normal functioning of societies.

In essence, the word “disrupt” has evolved to encompass a wide range of applications, reflecting its ability to capture the essence of disturbance, disorder, or interruption in various contexts. Its versatility as a verb allows it to describe actions, events, and even concepts that challenge the status quo and create a significant impact on the systems and structures they encounter.