[ verb ri-laps; noun ri-laps, ree-laps ]
See synonyms for relapse on
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.

  1. to fall back into vice, wrongdoing, or error; backslide: to relapse into heresy.

  1. an act or instance of relapsing.

  2. a return of a disease or illness after partial recovery from it.

Origin of relapse

First recorded in 1400–50; (for the verb) late Middle English, from Latin relāpsus “slid back,” past participle of relābī “to slide back, revert,” from re- re- + lābī “to fall, slide, make a mistake”; noun derivative of the verb

Other words for relapse

Other words from relapse

  • re·laps·a·ble, adjective
  • re·laps·er, noun
  • un·re·laps·ing, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use relapse in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for 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

noun(rɪˈlæps, ˈriːˌlæps)
  1. the act or an instance of relapsing

  2. the return of ill health after an apparent or partial recovery

Origin of relapse

C16: from Latin relabī to slip back, from re- + labī to slip, slide

Derived forms of relapse

  • relapser, noun

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