collapse

[ kuh-laps ]
/ kəˈlæps /
See synonyms for: collapse / collapsed / collapsing on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object), col·lapsed, col·laps·ing.

verb (used with object), col·lapsed, col·laps·ing.

to cause to collapse: He collapsed the table easily.

noun

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.

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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

OTHER WORDS FROM collapse

pre·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. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does collapse mean?

Collapse means to break apart suddenly, as in The rickety bridge collapsed into the river. If something collapses, it falls apart or caves in quickly and suddenly. Usually, something collapses because it’s unable to support its own weight.

Collapse can also be used figuratively to mean to fail or break down, as in The party quickly collapsed when two groups started fighting with each other. 

Collapse can also mean to fall unconscious or to pass out, as in The marathon runner collapsed due to heat stroke.  

Collapse can also be used as a noun in any of these senses, as in She determined that the coins dated back to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. 

Example: I had to rebuild my house of cards after the wobbly table caused it to collapse.

Where does collapse come from?

The first records of collapse come from around 1725. It comes from the Latin collābī, meaning “to fall to ruins.” To collapse is to literally or figuratively fall, usually suddenly.

With any building or man-made structure, a big concern is the structure collapsing. To prevent this, structures are reinforced to be as sturdy as possible. Modern building collapses are usually due to poor construction methods or a lack of building maintenance. Building and bridge collapses are often major tragedies that cause death and extensive damage.

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What are some other forms related to collapse?

  • precollapse (verb)
  • uncollapsed (adjective)
  • collapsible (adjective)
  • collapsibility (noun)

What are some synonyms for collapse?

What are some words that share a root or word element with collapse

What are some words that often get used in discussing collapse?

How is collapse used in real life?

Collapse is a common word that means to fall apart or suddenly fail.

 

 

Try using collapse!

Is collapse used correctly in the following sentence?

The company collapsed when it released a popular new toy and became more successful than ever.

Example sentences from the Web for collapse

British Dictionary definitions for collapse

collapse
/ (kəˈlæps) /

verb

(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

noun

the act or instance of suddenly falling down, caving in, or crumbling
a sudden failure or breakdown

Derived forms of collapse

collapsible or collapsable, adjectivecollapsibility or collapsability, noun

Word Origin for collapse

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

Medical definitions for collapse

collapse
[ kə-lăps ]

v.

To break down suddenly in strength or health and thereby fall into a condition of extreme prostration.
To fall together or inward suddenly.

n.

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.