- an accidental or temporary decline or deviation from an expected or accepted condition or state; a temporary falling or slipping from a previous standard: a lapse of justice.
- a slip or error, often of a trivial sort; failure: a lapse of memory.
- an interval or passage of time; elapsed period: a lapse of ten minutes before the program resumed.
- a moral fall, as from rectitude or virtue.
- a fall or decline to a lower grade, condition, or degree; descent; regression: a lapse into savagery.
- the act of falling, slipping, sliding, etc., slowly or by degrees.
- a falling into disuse.
- Insurance. discontinuance of coverage resulting from nonpayment of a premium; termination of a policy.
- Law. the termination of a right or privilege through neglect to exercise it or through failure of some contingency.
- Meteorology. lapse rate.
- Archaic. a gentle, downward flow, as of water.
- to fall or deviate from a previous standard; fail to maintain a normative level: Toward the end of the book the author lapsed into bad prose.
- to come to an end; stop: We let our subscription to that magazine lapse.
- to fall, slip, or sink; subside: to lapse into silence.
- to fall into disuse: The custom lapsed after a period of time.
- to deviate or abandon principles, beliefs, etc.: to lapse into heresy.
- to fall spiritually, as an apostate: to lapse from grace.
- to pass away, as time; elapse.
- Law. to become void, as a legacy to someone who dies before the testator.
- to cease being in force; terminate: Your insurance policy will lapse after 30 days.
Origin of lapse
Related Words for lapseoffense, failing, miscue, negligence, violation, fault, indiscretion, omission, blunder, failure, transgression, error, breach, crime, oversight, sin, interruption, lull, gap, deterioration
Examples from the Web for lapse
Contemporary Examples of lapse
That lapse was partly mitigated by the rise of blogging, which encouraged user-generated content.You Can Look It Up: The Wikipedia Story
October 19, 2014
Today no one in either party would accept such a benign explanation for a lapse in security, nor should they.My Benghazi Scandal
May 15, 2014
Cezanne is full of details, too, of course, but we know that they will endure a lapse in our attention.Warhol Gives Edie Sedgwick the Evil Eye
January 8, 2014
With Black History Month looming, I decided to rectify the lapse.David's Book Club: Up From History
February 2, 2013
They can buy whatever insurance they need to get the gun, and then let it lapse.Should People Be Forced to Buy Liability Insurance for their Guns?
December 28, 2012
Historical Examples of lapse
But the lapse of a few months will confirm or dispel their fears.
It was not, however, before the lapse of several months that he succeeded.Weighed and Wanting
Discredited by lapse of time and offensive to the popular taste, as an old book.The Devil's Dictionary
Only recently, after the lapse of years, did I learn the cause of their deserting me.City of Endless Night
After the lapse of half an hour or so, the elder Chester, gaily dressed, went out.Barnaby Rudge
- a drop in standard of an isolated or temporary naturea lapse of justice
- a break in occurrence, usage, etca lapse of five weeks between letters
- a gradual decline or a drop to a lower degree, condition, or statea lapse from high office
- a moral fall
- law the termination of some right, interest, or privilege, as by neglecting to exercise it or through failure of some contingency
- insurance the termination of coverage following a failure to pay the premiums
- to drop in standard or fail to maintain a norm
- to decline gradually or fall in status, condition, etc
- to be discontinued, esp through negligence or other failure
- (usually foll by into) to drift or slide (into a condition)to lapse into sleep
- (often foll by from) to turn away (from beliefs or norms)
- law (of a devise or bequest) to become void, as on the beneficiary's predeceasing the testator
- (of time) to slip away
Word Origin for lapse
mid-15c., "elapsing of time, expiration;" also "temporary forfeiture of a legal right," from Middle French laps "lapse," from Latin lapsus "a slipping and falling, flight (of time), falling into error," from labi "to slip, glide, fall." Meaning "moral transgression, sin" is c.1500; that of "slip of the memory" is 1520s; that of "a falling away from one's faith" is from 1650s.
early 15c., said to be from lapse (n.) or from Latin lapsare "to lose one's footing." Related: Lapsed; lapses; lapsing.