Dissed List: Breakup Words for Valentine's Day

Regardless of your romantic status this Valentine’s Day, we've got a word list for you! This one's for the under-attached, or anyone who's ever been burned by love. We've also got one for those who find the holiday’s saccharine sweetness nauseating: Sickly Sweet Treats: Sappy and Insincere Valentine Words. And if you just so happen to be truly, madly, deeply in love, check out: Love Letter Words for Valentine's Day.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. alienated
    caused to be unloved
    But she is also deeply alone and alienated.Slate (Dec 9, 2016)
    When people are alienated from each other, they feel like they don’t belong, like Martians on Jupiter.
  2. dejected
    affected or marked by low spirits
    But when her husband decided to "explore business opportunities on foreign shores, leaving his young wife and two children behind", she was completely dejected.BBC (Aug 13, 2015)
  3. disdain
    reject with contempt
    As the years pass, success eludes them both, and their old feelings of affection grow knotted up with jealousy and even disdain.Washington Post
  4. divorce
    part; cease or break association with
    “A divorce, a breakup, a crisis of some sort.”New York Times (Dec 12, 2016)
  5. dump
    sever all ties with, usually unceremoniously or irresponsibly
    She dumped you cruelly because you wanted to get married.Slate (Nov 22, 2016)
    Dump has been around since the days of Middle English and originally meant to fall or plunge. As dump slumped through English, it became something you do, like tossing away a bunch of garbage. The dating-oriented meaning appeared in Dale Stivens’ 1946 book The Courtship of Uncle Henry in sentences that read as accusatory (“You've dumped plenty of fellows before”) and indignant (“Dumping me like this for a couple of dumb sailors”). Man, that's rough.
  6. estranged
    caused to be unloved
    Bosh and the Heat are estranged, with no hope of reconciling.Washington Times (Oct 20, 2016)
    When people become estranged, they’ve become like strangers to each other.
  7. hiatus
    an interruption in the intensity or amount of something
    Malik has had reportedly very little contact with the remaining members of One Direction, who announced an indefinite hiatus at the beginning of this year.The Verge (Sep 6, 2016)
    Though hiatuses more often apply to other kinds of stoppages, they can also apply to romantic interruptions.
  8. humiliation
    depriving one of self-esteem
    Watch Mr. Hurt’s gruff, stoical Henry realizing that his girl has ditched him for his brother, with just a flicker of humiliation.New York Times (Oct 19, 2016)
  9. rebuff
    reject outright and bluntly
    ‘Lady Artemis rebuffed him, of course,’ Phoebe said.Blood of Olympus
    A rebuff is a rejection: in particular, a rejection that’s not very nice. Rebuffs are blunt and sometimes rude. “I’m not interested in you that way” isn’t a rebuff. “You are gross and icky and make me want to bleach my eyeballs” is more of a rebuff. Back in 1947, Charlotte Brontë used the term in Jane Eyre: “All eyes met her with a glance of eager curiosity, and she met all eyes with one of rebuff and coldness.” This word has a high wind-chill factor.
  10. reject
    deem wrong or inappropriate
    But she’s also been rejected by men, scorched by fashion snobs and followed through Ikea by a paparazzo.Seattle Times (Nov 22, 2016)
  11. spurn
    reject with contempt
    Now spurned by both ladies of Winterfell, he’s surely going to want some revenge for that awkward scene.Seattle Times (Jun 26, 2016)
    The meaning of this unromantic word is, as with so many words, more complicated than you’d think. Early uses refer to tripping and stumbling, which smoothly morphed to the sense of kicking something away. This kicky meaning led to a metaphorical use perfectly summed up by the contemporary phrase “kicked to the curb,” which means rejected and usually doesn’t involve a foot or curb. Spurning is more likely to come with a sneer than a smile.
  12. thwart
    hinder or prevent, as an effort, plan, or desire
    This theme, of individual choice and romantic love thwarted by parental edict and tradition, is a long-standing one in literature.The New Yorker (Nov 13, 2016)
  13. uncouple
    disconnect or separate
    In March 2014, the couple announced they were separating, with the process described as "conscious uncoupling" on Paltrow's lifestyle website Goop.BBC (Jul 18, 2016)
  14. unrequited
    not returned in kind
    Ocean compares this unrequited love to a tumor: "By the time I realized I was in love, it was malignant."The Verge (Aug 22, 2016)
  15. pooh-pooh
    reject with contempt
    Lancaster, whenever he noticed her dejection, was inclined to pooh-pooh it.Gates, Eleanor
    This silly-sounding word can be used to reject many ideas, including an invitation to a candlelit dinner.
Created on February 7, 2017 (updated February 12, 2019)

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