Erupt vs irrupt

Erupt and irrupt are two words that are often confused. We will discover the difference between the words erupt and irrupt, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Erupt means to explode suddenly and violently, to break out dramatically, to exhibit a mood change. Erupt describes the action of a volcano exploding, of a rash or skin blemishes breaking out on the skin, of a tooth breaking through the gums, as when a baby is teething. Related words are erupts, erupted, erupting, eruption, eruptible. The word erupt is derived from the Latin word erumpere which means to break out.

Irrupt means to enter suddenly or forcibly, to burst in, to break in. Irrupt also describes an animal or plant population suddenly increasing in numbers in a particular region. Related words are irrupts, irrupted, irrupting, irruption. The word irrupt is derived from the Latin word irrumpere, which means to break into. In everyday usage, the word irrupt is rarely seen. Remember, erupt describes something that bursts out, irrupt describes something that bursts in.


Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has said that the truce at the Israeli-Gaza border is deceptive and a new conflict may erupt at any moment as the Palestinian Hamas movement and other groups in the Gaza Strip still want to do away with Israel. (The Daily Sabah)

The Hubble Space Telescope has found further evidence that plumes of water erupt through the icy surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. (The New York Times)

Consciousness did not “suddenly irrupt into the universe fully formed,” Godfrey-Smith says. (The New York Times)

Pine grosbeaks usually make short-distance migrations each year, but sometimes they irrupt in huge numbers, appearing south of their usual winter range. (The Juneau Empire)

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