collapse

verb
col·​lapse | \ kə-ˈlaps \
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

transitive verb

1 : to cause to collapse buildings collapsed by an earthquake
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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Other Words from collapse

Verb

collapsibility \ kə-​ˌlap-​sə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē \ noun
collapsible \ kə-​ˈlap-​sə-​bəl \ adjective

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

Until this latest round of violence, both sides appeared close to reaching a longer term truce that would allow more aid to flow into a collapsing Gazan economy. Dov Lieber, WSJ, "Hamas Steps Back From All-Out War With Israel," 13 Nov. 2018 The play, which opened this week, begins on September 15th 2008, the day Lehman Brothers collapsed. The Economist, "On stage, the saga of the Lehman brothers is a parable of America," 12 July 2018 Bourbon storage unit gets a little... tipsy The Bardstown bourbon storage facility partially collapsed in June, but on Wednesday the whole thing came down. Madeline Mitchell, Cincinnati.com, "3 headlines: Nautical news, how your flag shirt isn't patriotic and bourbon breakdown," 4 July 2018 The dangers of decay of older infrastructure became evident last year, when a highway bridge collapsed in Genoa, killing 43 people. Eric Sylvers, WSJ, "Alpine Tunnel Splits Italy’s Populists," 19 Jan. 2019 Like all stars, our sun began in a nebula, where gas and dust collapsed on itself in a flurry of cosmic friction. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "When the Sun Dies, a Giant Crystal Will Take Its Place," 11 Jan. 2019 Laoghaire and her daughter Joanie find Brianna collapsed in the snow and bring her back to their house. Outlander Fan, Marie Claire, "5 Biggest Takeaways From 'Outlander' Season 4 Episode 7," 17 Dec. 2018 As soon as the trio placed the animal into the truck’s bed, the gator’s head snapped back, colliding with the trapper who collapsed to the ground. Elizabeth Zwirz, Fox News, "Florida alligator caught on video head-butting trapper in brazen effort to break free," 2 Oct. 2018 The company, however, was a Ponzi scheme and collapsed into bankruptcy in 2015. Patrick Danner, San Antonio Express-News, "Uresti wants taxpayers to pay for his appeal," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

As more people move from Facebook to Instagram, the app has begun to face the same problem of context collapse that its parent company’s flagship does. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Instagram adds ‘close friends’ to let you share stories to a more limited group," 30 Nov. 2018 Chely and Jhon get in line and collapse Mayte’s stroller. Liliana Frankel, Teen Vogue, "A Day in the Life of the Migrant Caravan," 16 Nov. 2018 The fire that destroyed a Safeway in Phoenix Wednesday evening may have been caused by a roof collapse that broke a gas line and damaged the main electrical box, the Phoenix Fire Department said. Angela Forburger, azcentral, "Storm damage, roof collapse may have triggered Safeway fire, officials say," 12 July 2018 Engineers responded on Friday to secure the remaining warehouse structure and contain what was involved in the collapse. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "A day later, thousands of bourbon barrels still scattered by warehouse," 23 June 2018 This is the real doom loop set to unfold in Italy, post-QE: not the pyrotechnics of a financial collapse, but rather the death spiral of a government that can’t support Main Street, and a Main Street that can’t support its banks. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Italy’s ‘Doom Loops,’ Imagined and Real," 3 Jan. 2019 Martin's novella was set many centuries in the future, long after the collapse of the human race on Earth in the wake of an interstellar war with aliens. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Nightflyers has the bloody body count we expect from George R.R. Martin," 29 Nov. 2018 After the collapse of the Soviet Union, though, the island has turned to tourism. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Massive Effort to Bring Home an MIA Pilot from World War II," 7 Nov. 2018 Without formal training, financing, workspace, or customers, the Harps were quickly on the edge of financial collapse. Fox News, "'Handcrafted: A Woodworker's Story' by Clint Harp," 24 Sep. 2018

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

1732, in the meaning defined at intransitive 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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Statistics for collapse

Last Updated

7 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for collapse

The first known use of collapse was in 1732

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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 \
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 \
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 \ noun
collapsible \ -​ˈlap-​sə-​bəl \ 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

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More from Merriam-Webster on collapse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with collapse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for collapse

Spanish Central: Translation of collapse

Nglish: Translation of collapse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of collapse for Arabic Speakers

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