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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Her shoulders collapse when she is asked about the Hall of Fame ceremony. New York Times, 12 July 2021 His strategy for advancing both a bipartisan infrastructure bill and a sweeping package of progressive policies that Republicans have vowed to oppose — including family assistance and climate change measures — may collapse. Los Angeles Times, 7 July 2021 Generally, population explosions eventually collapse due to natural predators such as mice or specialized wasps, or two naturally occurring diseases, a virus known as NPV and a fungus. Arricca Elin Sansone, Country Living, 6 July 2021 With the threat of Tropical Storm Elsa looming, officials and rescue crews were increasingly concerned about the safety of those searching the rubble and the potential the rest of the structure would collapse. Aditi Sangal, CNN, 5 July 2021 Exactly why did a 12-story condominium tower tragically collapse in Surfside? Christine Fernando, USA TODAY, 2 July 2021 Why did the high-rise Champlain Towers South condo building suddenly collapse in the pre-dawn hours on June 24? Richard A. Serrano Los Angeles Times, Star Tribune, 30 June 2021 The bubbles then collapse, releasing gobs of energy, and an impulsive, firecracker-like noise. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 29 June 2021 In the long-term, America’s entire social safety net for the elderly—which depends on current workers paying taxes to support current retirees’ Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare benefits—could collapse. Andrew Tisch, Forbes, 28 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But disputes rarely end as tragically as the Florida collapse, where emergency teams are still searching the rubble weeks later. BostonGlobe.com, 14 July 2021 The nation currently faces its worst economic crisis since the Soviet Union’s collapse. Santiago Pérez, WSJ, 13 July 2021 Exhausted crews neared the end of their search for victims of a Miami-area condominium tower collapse Tuesday as the death toll reached 95 with just a handful of people still unaccounted for. Bobby Caina Calvan, chicagotribune.com, 13 July 2021 The collapse comes just days after another crane collapsed in Toronto. Deanna Hackney, CNN, 13 July 2021 Two days after that collapse on June 24, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava ordered an audit of buildings in the county that are five stories or higher and at or near 40 years old. NBC News, 13 July 2021 The cause of the partial collapse to a building that has withstood decades of hurricanes remains unknown and is under investigation. Morgan Winsor, ABC News, 12 July 2021 That tragic event was neither the first nor the last bluff collapse in a scenic and densely populated, yet precarious, coastal region. Ramin Skibba, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 July 2021 Take advantage of Fearless’ position on the map and collapse on Reinhardt. Sean Collins, Dallas News, 12 July 2021

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.

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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

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Learn More About collapse

Time Traveler for collapse

Time Traveler

The first known use of collapse was in 1620

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Statistics for collapse

Last Updated

15 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Collapse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collapse. Accessed 24 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for collapse

collapse

verb

English Language Learners Definition of collapse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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.

collapse

noun

English Language Learners Definition of collapse (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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

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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