- to fall or cave in; crumble suddenly: The roof collapsed and buried the crowd.
- to be made so that sections or parts can be folded up, as for convenient storage: This bridge table collapses.
- to break down; come to nothing; fail: Despite all their efforts the peace talks collapsed.
- to fall unconscious or as if unconscious or physically depleted, as from a stroke, heart attack, disease, or exhaustion.
- to sink into extreme weakness.
- (of lungs) to come into an airless state.
- to cause to collapse: He collapsed the table easily.
- a falling in or together: Three miners were trapped by the collapse of the tunnel roof.
- a sudden, complete failure; breakdown: The bribery scandal brought about the complete collapse of his industrial empire.
Origin of collapse
1725–35; < Latin collāpsus (past participle of collābī to fall, fall in ruins), equivalent to col- col-1 + lāp-, variant stem of lābī to fall + -sus, variant of -tus past participle ending
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for collapse
No precautions have been taken to reinforce the ceilings, which could collapse onto the statues.
In 1997, an earthquake in Assisi caused the collapse of the main cathedral and killed ten people.
A hard look at campus rape statistics, the collapse of The New Republic and the day John Lennon died.The Daily Beast’s Best Longreads, Dec 8-14, 2014
December 13, 2014
But to say the capital teeters on the verge of collapse is both melodramatic and misleading.Heart of Darkness: Into Afghanistan’s Taliban Valley
Matt Trevithick, Daniel Seckman
November 15, 2014
This crack races across the walls of her apartment as if the very building itself is about to collapse.Wes Craven's Favorite Scary Movies
October 30, 2014
The music is lost, but the libretto survives, and that is enough to account for the collapse.Handel
Edward J. Dent
He was 65 feet up in the air when the collapse occurred, resulting in his death.Flying Machines
W.J. Jackman and Thos. H. Russell
You would rather witness the collapse of everything, you said.The Three Cities Trilogy, Complete
When she reached the corner she stopped, and seemed about to collapse.The Avenger
E. Phillips Oppenheim
She closed her eyes and swayed slightly, but she did not collapse or give way.Shavings
Joseph C. Lincoln
- (intr) to fall down or cave in suddenlythe whole building collapsed
- (intr) to fail completelyhis story collapsed on investigation
- (intr) to break down or fall down from lack of strength
- to fold (furniture, etc) compactly or (of furniture, etc) to be designed to fold compactly
- the act or instance of suddenly falling down, caving in, or crumbling
- a sudden failure or breakdown
C18: from Latin collāpsus, from collābī to fall in ruins, from lābī to fall
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for collapse
1801, from collapse (v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- To break down suddenly in strength or health and thereby fall into a condition of extreme prostration.
- To fall together or inward suddenly.
- A condition of extreme prostration.
- A falling together of the walls of a structure.
- The failure of a physical system.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.