[ kuh-laps ]
/ kəˈlæps /

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.


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.

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


pre·col·lapse, verb, pre·col·lapsed, pre·col·laps·ing.un·col·lapsed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for collapse

British Dictionary definitions for collapse

/ (kəˈlæps) /


(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


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

[ kə-lăps ]


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


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.