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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.

Full Definition of collapse


  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>

col·laps·ibil·i·ty play \-ˌlap-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun
col·laps·ible play \-ˈlap-sə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of collapse

  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 of collapse

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

First Known Use: 1732

Rhymes with 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

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

  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.


First Known Use of collapse


COLLAPSIBLE Defined for Kids


adjective col·laps·ible \kə-ˈlap-sə-bəl\

Definition of collapsible

  1. :  capable of collapsing or possible to collapse <a collapsible table>

Seen and Heard

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February 10, 2016

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