Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

collapse

play
verb col·lapse \kə-ˈlaps\

Simple Definition of collapse

  • : to break apart and fall down suddenly

  • : to fall down or become unconscious because you are sick or exhausted

  • : to completely relax the muscles of your body because you are very tired, upset, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of collapse

collapsed

collapsing

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to fall or shrink together abruptly and completely :  fall into a jumbled or flattened mass through the force of external pressure <a blood vessel that collapsed>

  3. 2 :  to break down completely :  disintegrate <his case had collapsed in a mass of legal wreckage — Erle Stanley Gardner>

  4. 3 :  to cave or fall in or give way <the bridge collapsed>

  5. 4 :  to suddenly lose force, significance, effectiveness, or worth <fears that the currency may collapse>

  6. 5 :  to break down in vital energy, stamina, or self-control through exhaustion or disease; especially :  to fall helpless or unconscious

  7. 6 :  to fold down into a more compact shape <a chair that collapses>

  8. transitive verb
  9. 1 :  to cause to collapse <buildings collapsed by an earthquake>

  10. 2 :  condense <collapse several stories into one>

collapsibility

play \-ˌlap-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun

collapsible

play \-ˈlap-sə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of collapse in a sentence

  1. The roof collapsed under a heavy load of snow.

  2. The chair he was sitting in collapsed.

  3. He collapsed on stage during the performance and had to be rushed to the hospital.

  4. She came home from work and collapsed on the sofa.

  5. The crying child ran to his mother and collapsed in her arms.

  6. The civilization collapsed for reasons that are still unknown.

  7. He warned that such measures could cause the economy to collapse.



Origin and Etymology of collapse

Latin collapsus, past participle of collabi, from com- + labi to fall, slide — more at sleep


First Known Use: 1732


2

collapse

noun col·lapse

Simple Definition of collapse

  • : a situation or occurrence in which something (such as a bridge, building, etc.) suddenly breaks apart and falls down

  • : a situation or occurrence in which someone suddenly falls down or becomes unconscious because of being sick or exhausted

  • : a situation or occurrence in which something (such as a system or organization) suddenly fails : a complete failure or breakdown

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of collapse

  1. 1 a :  a breakdown in vital energy, strength, or stamina b :  a state of extreme prostration and physical depression (as from circulatory failure or great loss of body fluids) c :  an airless state of all or part of a lung originating spontaneously or induced surgically

  2. 2 :  the act or action of collapsing <the cutting of many tent ropes, the collapse of the canvas — Rudyard Kipling>

  3. 3 :  a sudden failure :  breakdown, ruin

  4. 4 :  a sudden loss of force, value, or effect <the collapse of respect for ancient law and custom — L. S. B. Leakey>

Examples of collapse in a sentence

  1. The structure is in danger of collapse.

  2. She was on the verge of collapse.

  3. The country has endured civil war and economic collapse.



1801

First Known Use of collapse

1801

Rhymes with collapse


COLLAPSE Defined for Kids

1

collapse

play
verb col·lapse \kə-ˈlaps\

Definition of collapse for Students

collapsed

collapsing

  1. 1 :  to break down completely :  fall in <He escaped from the mine before it collapsed.>

  2. 2 :  to completely relax <I collapsed onto the sofa.>

  3. 3 :  to suffer a physical or mental breakdown <She collapsed from exhaustion.>

  4. 4 :  to fail or stop working suddenly <The ancient civilization collapsed.>

  5. 5 :  to fold together <The umbrella collapses to a small size.>




2

collapse

play
noun col·lapse

Definition of collapse for Students

  1. :  the act or an instance of breaking down <The building is in danger of collapse.>




Medical Dictionary

1

collapse

play
verb col·lapse \kə-ˈlaps\

Medical Definition of collapse

collapsed

;

collapsing

  1. 1

  2. intransitive verb

  3. :  to fall or shrink together abruptly and completely :  fall into a jumbled or flattened mass through the force of external pressure <a blood vessel that collapsed>

  4. 2:  to break down in vital energy, stamina, or self-control through exhaustion or disease; especially :  to fall helpless or unconscious

  5. transitive verb

  6. :  to cause to collapse <collapsing an infected lung>

collapsibility

\-ˌlap-sə-ˈbil-ət-ē\play noun

collapsible

\-ˈlap-sə-bəl\play adjective



2

collapse

noun col·lapse

Medical Definition of collapse

  1. 1:  a breakdown in vital energy, strength, or stamina :  complete sudden enervation <the daughter's mental collapse through mounting frustration—Leslie Rees>

  2. 2:  a state of extreme prostration and physical depression resulting from circulatory failure, great loss of body fluids, or heart disease and occurring terminally in diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, and pneumonia

  3. 3:  an airless state of a lung of spontaneous origin or induced surgically—see atelectasis

  4. 4:  an abnormal falling together of the walls of an organ <collapse of blood vessels>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up collapse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the lowest point

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

fox-in-summer-forest

Which of these is a synonym of inchoate?

massive experimental formless frightening
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ