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

(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 formsun·e·lapsed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for elapsed

transpire, expire, lapse, vanish, flow, pass

Examples from the Web for elapsed

Contemporary Examples of elapsed

Historical Examples of elapsed

  • The week elapsed, and at the end of it, I had not presented myself at his residence.

  • A little more than a year had elapsed when he again entered the political arena.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • Uneasily, he had remained in the library until the allotted time was elapsed.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • When, however, suitable time had elapsed, the oldest of the party spoke.

    The Last of the Mohicans

    James Fenimore Cooper

  • Some hours elapsed before he was conscious of anything that was passing around him.

    Georgie's Present

    Miss Brightwell

British Dictionary definitions for elapsed



(intr) (of time) to pass by

Word Origin for elapse

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

Word Origin and History for elapsed



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