[verb ri-laps; noun ri-laps, ree-laps]
- to fall or slip back into a former state, practice, etc.: to relapse into silence.
- to fall back into illness after convalescence or apparent recovery.
- to fall back into vice, wrongdoing, or error; backslide: to relapse into heresy.
- an act or instance of relapsing.
- a return of a disease or illness after partial recovery from it.
Origin of relapse
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
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
3. regress, revert, lapse.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for relapse
In 59 percent of those cases, the relapse occurred within the first week.Hallucinating Away a Heroin Addiction
May 4, 2014
In the absence of chemotherapy, there was an 80 percent chance of relapse.How Big Pharma Holds Back in the War on Cancer
April 23, 2014
However, as the recent and unpredicted actions in Crimea remind us, there is always a chance of relapse.Using Strategies Reserved for Disease Outbreak, Activists Try to “Cure” Urban Violence
April 11, 2014
Maybe most importantly, the app includes interactive features to intervene before a relapse occurs.App for Recovering Alcoholics Provides 24/7 Care, Helps Them Stay Sober
March 26, 2014
And in the early 1980s—1981, 1982, 1983—he has been suffering from a relapse of his drug addiction.The Inside Story of Johnny Cash’s Legendary Lost LP, ‘Out Among the Stars’
March 18, 2014
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
I, who whip round corners and bluster, relapse and evade, then rally and pursue!The Golden Age
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.
- to lapse back into a former state or condition, esp one involving bad habits
- to become ill again after apparent recovery
- the act or an instance of relapsing
- the return of ill health after an apparent or partial recovery
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
Word Origin and History for relapse
mid-15c., from relapse (v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
- To regress after partial recovery from illness.
- To slip back into bad ways; backslide.
- To fall or slide back into a former state.
- A falling back into a former state, especially the return of symptoms following an apparent recovery.recurrence
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.