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relapse

[verb ri-laps; noun ri-laps, ree-laps]
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verb (used without object), re·lapsed, re·laps·ing.
  1. to fall or slip back into a former state, practice, etc.: to relapse into silence.
  2. to fall back into illness after convalescence or apparent recovery.
  3. to fall back into vice, wrongdoing, or error; backslide: to relapse into heresy.
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noun
  1. an act or instance of relapsing.
  2. a return of a disease or illness after partial recovery from it.
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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
Related formsre·laps·a·ble, adjectivere·laps·er, nounun·re·laps·ing, adjective

Synonyms

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

recurrenceregressionrecidivismdegeneratelossreturnreversionlapsesetbackfallrepetitionretrogressionretrogressworsenrevertsickensinkfaderegressfail

Examples from the Web for relapse

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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

    Charles Dickens

  • I, who whip round corners and bluster, relapse and evade, then rally and pursue!

    The Golden Age

    Kenneth Grahame

  • 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.


British Dictionary definitions for relapse

relapse

verb (rɪˈlæps) (intr)
  1. to lapse back into a former state or condition, esp one involving bad habits
  2. to become ill again after apparent recovery
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noun (rɪˈlæps, ˈriːˌlæps)
  1. the act or an instance of relapsing
  2. the return of ill health after an apparent or partial recovery
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Derived Formsrelapser, noun

Word Origin

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

v.

early 15c., "renounce;" 1560s, "fall into a former state," from Latin relapsus, past participle of relabi "slip back, slide back, sink back," from re- "back" (see re-) + labi "to slip" (see lapse (n.)). Related: Relapsed; relapsing.

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n.

mid-15c., from relapse (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

relapse in Medicine

relapse

(rĭ-lăps)
v.
  1. To regress after partial recovery from illness.
  2. To slip back into bad ways; backslide.
  3. To fall or slide back into a former state.
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n.
  1. A falling back into a former state, especially the return of symptoms following an apparent recovery.recurrence
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.