1580s, "sudden, unceremonious, without notice," a figurative use from Latin abruptus "broken off," also "precipitous, steep" (as a cliff), also "disconnected," past participle of abrumpere "break off," from ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + rumpere "to break," from a nasalized form of the PIE root *reup- "to snatch" (see rupture (n.)). The literal sense "broken off or appearing as if broken off" is from c. 1600 in English. Of writing, "having sudden transitions, lacking continuity," 1630s. Related: Abruptly; abruptness.
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