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2017 Word of the Year

relapse

[verb ri-laps; noun ri-laps, ree-laps] /verb rɪˈlæps; noun rɪˈlæps, ˈri læps/
verb (used without object), relapsed, relapsing.
1.
to fall or slip back into a former state, practice, etc.:
to relapse into silence.
2.
to fall back into illness after convalescence or apparent recovery.
3.
to fall back into vice, wrongdoing, or error; backslide:
to relapse into heresy.
noun
4.
an act or instance of relapsing.
5.
a return of a disease or illness after partial recovery from it.
Origin of relapse
late Middle English
1400-1450
1400-50; (v.) late Middle English < Latin relāpsus, past participle of relābī to slide back, revert (re- re- + lāb- v. stem + -sus for -tus past participle suffix); (noun) late Middle English < Medieval Latin relāpsus, equivalent to Latin relāb(ī) + -sus for -tus suffix of v. action
Related forms
relapsable, adjective
relapser, noun
unrelapsing, adjective
Synonyms
3. regress, revert, lapse.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for relapse
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I had sent for Doctor Norrey, as soon as the relapse came, and he was there with me.

    Questionable Shapes William Dean Howells
  • And when the relapse fell on him, was he in most respects—or in all respects—as he was then?

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  • I, who whip round corners and bluster, relapse and evade, then rally and pursue!

    The Golden Age Kenneth Grahame
  • There was a temporary rally, followed by a relapse, at Alexandria.

    The Last Voyage Lady (Annie Allnutt) Brassey
  • But the notes that called me home were too clarion-like for a relapse into puppyism.

British Dictionary definitions for relapse

relapse

verb (intransitive) (rɪˈlæps)
1.
to lapse back into a former state or condition, esp one involving bad habits
2.
to become ill again after apparent recovery
noun (rɪˈlæps; ˈriːˌlæps)
3.
the act or an instance of relapsing
4.
the return of ill health after an apparent or partial recovery
Derived Forms
relapser, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin relabī to slip back, from re- + labī to slip, slide
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 relapse
v.

early 15c., "renounce;" 1560s, "fall into a former state," from Latin relapsus, past participle of relabi "slip back, slide back, sink back," from re- "back" (see re-) + labi "to slip" (see lapse (n.)). Related: Relapsed; relapsing.

n.

mid-15c., from relapse (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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relapse in Medicine

relapse re·lapse (rĭ-lāps')
v. re·lapsed, re·laps·ing, re·laps·es

  1. To regress after partial recovery from illness.

  2. To slip back into bad ways; backslide.

  3. To fall or slide back into a former state.

n. (rē'lāps, rĭ-lāps')
A falling back into a former state, especially the return of symptoms following an apparent recovery. Also called recurrence.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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