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[ih-laps] /ɪˈlæps/
verb (used without object), elapsed, elapsing.
(of time) to slip or pass by:
Thirty minutes elapsed before the performance began.
the passage or termination of a period of time; lapse.
Origin of elapse
1635-45; < Latin ēlapsus (past participle of ēlābī to slip away), equivalent to e- e-1 + lab- slip + -sus for -tus past participle suffix
Related forms
unelapsed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for elapse
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The length of time which must elapse before the trial could come on was dreadful.

  • It was Thursday morning, and three days must elapse before his release.

    Paul Prescott's Charge Horatio Alger
  • Weeks might elapse, or months even, when no soul passed that way.

    The Trail of a Sourdough May Kellogg Sullivan
  • Years may elapse before work can be resumed—years of dependence and anxiety.

    The Untroubled Mind Herbert J. Hall
  • Seas will not now divide us, nor years elapse before we see each other.

    Mary Wollstonecraft Elizabeth Robins Pennell
  • I allowed at least half a minute to elapse before I even lifted up my eyes.

    Lavengro George Borrow
  • It will make a far greater difference if twenty years elapse.

    Checking the Waste Mary Huston Gregory
  • Do you always allow three months to elapse between your visits?

    The Hand in the Dark Arthur J. Rees
  • But four days at least must elapse before they could hope to leave it.

British Dictionary definitions for elapse


(intransitive) (of time) to pass by
Word Origin
C17: from Latin ēlābī to slip away, from lābī to slip, glide
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
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Word Origin and History for elapse

1640s, from Middle French elapser, from Latin elapsus, past participle of elabi "slip or glide away, escape," from ex- "out, away" (see ex-) + labi "to slip, glide" (see lapse (n.)). The noun now corresponding to elapse is lapse. Related: Elapsed; elapsing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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