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collapse

[kuh-laps]
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verb (used without object), col·lapsed, col·laps·ing.
  1. to fall or cave in; crumble suddenly: The roof collapsed and buried the crowd.
  2. to be made so that sections or parts can be folded up, as for convenient storage: This bridge table collapses.
  3. to break down; come to nothing; fail: Despite all their efforts the peace talks collapsed.
  4. to fall unconscious or as if unconscious or physically depleted, as from a stroke, heart attack, disease, or exhaustion.
  5. Pathology.
    1. to sink into extreme weakness.
    2. (of lungs) to come into an airless state.
verb (used with object), col·lapsed, col·laps·ing.
  1. to cause to collapse: He collapsed the table easily.
noun
  1. a falling in or together: Three miners were trapped by the collapse of the tunnel roof.
  2. 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
Related formspre·col·lapse, verb, pre·col·lapsed, pre·col·laps·ing.un·col·lapsed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for collapse

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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.

  • 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


British Dictionary definitions for collapse

collapse

verb
  1. (intr) to fall down or cave in suddenlythe whole building collapsed
  2. (intr) to fail completelyhis story collapsed on investigation
  3. (intr) to break down or fall down from lack of strength
  4. to fold (furniture, etc) compactly or (of furniture, etc) to be designed to fold compactly
noun
  1. the act or instance of suddenly falling down, caving in, or crumbling
  2. a sudden failure or breakdown
Derived Formscollapsible or collapsable, adjectivecollapsibility or collapsability, noun

Word Origin

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

v.

1732, from Latin collapsus, past participle of collabi "fall together," from com- "together" (see com-) + labi "to fall, slip" (see lapse (n.)). The adjective collapsed is attested from c.1600, from Latin collapsus, and perhaps this suggested a verb. Related: Collapsing.

n.

1801, from collapse (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

collapse in Medicine

collapse

(kə-lăps)
v.
  1. To break down suddenly in strength or health and thereby fall into a condition of extreme prostration.
  2. To fall together or inward suddenly.
n.
  1. A condition of extreme prostration.
  2. A falling together of the walls of a structure.
  3. 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.