To break up is a common phrasal verb which means: ‘to separate’. You can use it to describe the end of a relationship, romantic or otherwise. For example, my boyfriend broke up with me last week and I am over the moon because all that commitment was totally getting on my nerves. Unfortunately, The Beatles broke up in 1970. Or, you can use it to describe the action of breaking an object into different parts. For example, unscrupulous multinationals take over smaller companies in order to break them up and get rid of the competition.