To disrupt is to interrupt or throw something into disorder. If you don't turn your phone off before a play, it might ring and disrupt the actors and the audience.

Disrupt goes back to the Latin root disrumpere, "to break apart." When you disrupt, you break someone's concentration, break up a routine, or break apart a system or order, as when bad weather disrupts the travel plans of people in airports. Even if your headphones keep the music in your ears only, singing out loud can disrupt those around you. A larger interruption would be if a war were to erupt. That would disrupt the peace of an entire region and its people.

Definitions of disrupt

v make a break in

break up, cut off, interrupt
show 22 types...
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cut, cut off
cease, stop
interrupt periodically
interrupt the flow of current in
put aside, put away
turn away from and put aside, perhaps temporarily
break, intermit, pause
cease an action temporarily
barge in, break in, butt in, chime in, chisel in, cut in, put in
break into a conversation
burst in on, burst upon
spring suddenly
challenge aggressively
come in, inject, interject, interpose, put in, throw in
to insert between other elements
block, jam
interfere with or prevent the reception of signals
stop, stop over
interrupt a trip
take off, take time off
take time off from work; stop working temporarily
interfere in someone else's activity
breathe, catch one's breath, rest, take a breather
take a short break from one's activities in order to relax
take five
take a break for five minutes
take ten
take a ten minute break
barrage jam
jam an entire frequency spectrum
point jam
jam a narrow band of frequencies
spot jam
jam a single frequency
blanket jam
jam a broad spectrum of frequencies to affect all communications in the area except for directional antenna communications
make a stop in a harbour
lay over, stop over
interrupt a journey temporarily, e.g., overnight
Type of:
break, break off, discontinue, stop
prevent completion

v throw into disorder

“This event disrupted the orderly process”

v interfere in someone else's activity

cut in
interrupt a dancing couple in order to take one of them as one's own partner
cut short
cause to end earlier than intended
Type of:
barge in, break in, butt in, chime in, chisel in, cut in, put in
break into a conversation

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