collapse

verb
col·​lapse | \ kə-ˈlaps How to pronounce collapse (audio) \
collapsed; collapsing

Definition of collapse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

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
2 : to break down completely : disintegrate … his case had collapsed in a mass of legal wreckage …— Erle Stanley Gardner
3 : to cave or fall in or give way The bridge collapsed.
4 : to suddenly lose force, significance, effectiveness, or worth fears that the currency may collapse
5 : to break down in vital energy, stamina, or self-control through exhaustion or disease She came home from work and collapsed on the sofa. especially : to fall helpless or unconscious He collapsed on stage during the performance.
6 : to fold down into a more compact shape a chair that collapses a collapsing golf club that can fit into a travel bag

transitive verb

1 : to cause to collapse buildings collapsed by an earthquake He knelt for a long time, first watching the bay below, then collapsing the spyglass and settling his hands on his legs in a thoughtful pose.— Heather Dunboine
2 : condense collapse several stories into one

collapse

noun

Definition of collapse (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a breakdown in vital energy, strength, or stamina suffered a mental collapse
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 : the act or action of collapsing the cutting of many tent ropes, the collapse of the canvas— Rudyard Kipling
3 : a sudden failure : breakdown, ruin the collapse of the government
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

Verb The roof collapsed under a heavy load of snow. The chair he was sitting in collapsed. He collapsed on stage during the performance and had to be rushed to the hospital. She came home from work and collapsed on the sofa. The crying child ran to his mother and collapsed in her arms. The civilization collapsed for reasons that are still unknown. He warned that such measures could cause the economy to collapse. Noun The structure is in danger of collapse. She was on the verge of collapse. The country has endured civil war and economic collapse. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Penn State’s defensive line caused the pocket to collapse around Finley. Nubyjas Wilborn | Nwilborn@al.com, al, 18 Sep. 2022 There was no word on what may have caused the column to collapse. Gina Martinez, CBS News, 30 Aug. 2022 Authorities said the strike caused the older man to collapse to the floor and lose consciousness. Lawrence Richard, Fox News, 17 Aug. 2022 If, on the other hand, Iranian negotiators introduce new demands, or refuse to back away from U.S. red lines, the whole thing could collapse with no agreement in place and Iran drawing dangerously close to being able to produce a nuclear weapon. David Faris, The Week, 26 Aug. 2022 The Biden administration merely struck the last few nails in the coffin by announcing withdrawal and then doing it in a manner that ensured the Afghan government was going to collapse. CBS News, 24 Aug. 2022 The problem with paper assets is that, in the event of a global crisis of enormous proportions, confidence in the financial system may collapse. The Salt Lake Tribune, 24 Aug. 2022 The Russian economy isn’t simply going to collapse because of the exodus, experts say. Yvonne Lau, Fortune, 20 Aug. 2022 Food production would consequently collapse, with the number of calories available from major crops and fisheries falling by up to 42% and the resulting famine killing over 2 billion people worldwide, according to the most recent study. Alex Wigglesworth, Anchorage Daily News, 16 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Many conspiracy theorists point to FEMA’s preliminary report, which said there was relatively light damage to WTC 7 prior to its collapse. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, 9 Sep. 2022 As the service sector recovers from its pandemic collapse, Fed economists expect prices for everything from rent to healthcare to increase—just as inflation for goods was slowing down. Nate Dicamillo, Quartz, 6 Sep. 2022 For many of the thousands of auditors who worked at Arthur Andersen, in particular, its collapse remains a painful reminder of how fragile livelihoods—and even a company’s existence—can be. Mark Maurer, WSJ, 31 Aug. 2022 Gorbachev was the leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 until its collapse in December 1991. Bradford Betz, Fox News, 30 Aug. 2022 Founded in 2011, MoviePass previously became a smash hit for offering customers one free film a day for a flat fee of $9.95 a month, before its 2019 collapse. Jen Juneau, Peoplemag, 22 Aug. 2022 Johnson’s move comes nearly more than 18 months after his harrowing collapse on the court at Florida State ended his playing career with the Gators. Edgar Thompson, Orlando Sentinel, 20 Aug. 2022 Michael Burry catapulted to fame by being one of the very few to doggedly bet against America’s subprime market at the peak of the housing boom just before its collapse triggered the global financial crisis in September 2008. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 18 Aug. 2022 And years of American efforts to shore up a fledgling Afghan government and train its new army did little to prevent its sudden and total collapse. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 12 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'collapse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of collapse

Verb

1620, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for collapse

Verb and Noun

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

Learn More About collapse

Time Traveler for collapse

Time Traveler

The first known use of collapse was in 1620

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Dictionary Entries Near collapse

collapsar

collapse

collapse breccia

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Statistics for collapse

Last Updated

25 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Collapse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collapse. Accessed 25 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for collapse

collapse

verb
col·​lapse | \ kə-ˈlaps How to pronounce collapse (audio) \
collapsed; collapsing

Kids Definition of collapse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to break down completely : fall in He escaped from the mine before it collapsed.
2 : to completely relax I collapsed onto the sofa.
3 : to suffer a physical or mental breakdown She collapsed from exhaustion.
4 : to fail or stop working suddenly The ancient civilization collapsed.
5 : to fold together The umbrella collapses to a small size.

collapse

noun

Kids Definition of collapse (Entry 2 of 2)

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

collapse

verb
col·​lapse | \ kə-ˈlaps How to pronounce collapse (audio) \
collapsed; collapsing

Medical Definition of collapse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

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

transitive verb

: to cause to collapse collapsing an infected lung

Other Words from collapse

collapsibility \ -​ˌlap-​sə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē How to pronounce collapse (audio) \ noun
collapsible \ -​ˈlap-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce collapse (audio) \ adjective

collapse

noun

Medical Definition of collapse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a breakdown in vital energy, strength, or stamina : complete sudden enervation the daughter's mental collapse through mounting frustration— Leslie Rees
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 : an airless state of a lung of spontaneous origin or induced surgically — see atelectasis
4 : an abnormal falling together of the walls of an organ collapse of blood vessels

More from Merriam-Webster on collapse

Nglish: Translation of collapse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of collapse for Arabic Speakers

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