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

Friday’s earthquake damaged roads and structures, cracked roadways and collapsed highway ramps. Rachel D'oro, The Seattle Times, "Alaska selfie-takers told to stay off quake-buckled road," 5 Dec. 2018 Silverman explains that in the DSM-5, experts essentially collapsed two mood disorders—chronic major depressive disorder and dysthymia—into one: PDD. Claire Gillespie, SELF, "What Exactly Does It Mean to Have ‘High-Functioning’ Depression?," 19 Nov. 2018 Sean Gallup / Getty Two workers at an Amazon warehouse in Baltimore died on Friday evening after part of the building collapsed during a storm, an Amazon executive said on Twitter on Saturday morning. Jason Del Rey, Recode, "Two workers have died at an Amazon warehouse in Baltimore," 3 Nov. 2018 In the past, these flights have mapped Greenland’s ice sheets, identified collapsing ice shelves, and spotted mysterious holes in the Antarctic ice. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "NASA Spots Strange Rectangular Iceberg in Antarctica," 23 Oct. 2018 Right after witnessing this, Betty collapses and starts having a seizure. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Archie's already made a terrible decision.," 11 Oct. 2018 Many safety concerns are related to unstable or collapsing products, hardware issues, or assembly problems. Lindsey Murray, Good Housekeeping, "New Safety Standards Are Coming for Baby Changing Products — Here's Everything You Need to Know," 25 July 2018 Even testing it on an exceptionally windy day — people's umbrellas were leaning and collapsing — this tiny table stayed put. Candace Braun Davison, House Beautiful, "This Outdoor Wine Table Lets You Enjoy Happy Hour Anywhere," 23 July 2018 The Croatians pour out of the dugout and the entire squad collapses onto Mandzukic — and several photographers in the corner. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Croatia Digs Deeper, Burying England’s World Cup Dreams," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Some of the most striking photos of the damage include the collapse of a street in Anchorage’s business district due to a landslide. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Alaska’s earthquake didn’t kill anyone—here’s why," 3 Dec. 2018 The incident marked the first overt collision between Russian and Ukrainian militaries since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Yuras Karmanau, The Seattle Times, "Putin derides Ukraine’s martial law as political trick," 28 Nov. 2018 Still, the process can lead to a dramatic sea-level rise over time, according to a NASA explainer on the collapse of the Larsen B ice shelf. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Antarctic Wind Creates a Dramatic Humming Noise On The Ross Ice Shelf," 17 Oct. 2018 There’s still people there, and there’s still things there, but meth, opioids, just the lack of jobs, the total collapse of masculinity in those places. Eric Johnson, Recode, "Elites like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos think they’re being philanthropic. But they could do so much more.," 3 Oct. 2018 An opposing notion holds that the sudden creation of a new space within the joint (like from pulling it) makes the sound, not the collapse of gassy little bubbles. Korin Miller, SELF, "Here’s What It Means If Your Knee Just Won’t Stop Popping," 23 Sep. 2018 Few Armenian enterprises emerged in the decades following the collapse, accounting for the country’s low GDP, which ranks it, still, at 138 out of 195 countries in the world. Niree Noel, Allure, "The Evolution of Armenia’s Beauty Industry, According to Women Who Witnessed It," 27 July 2018 Croatia has a population of just four million, and many members of its current team grew up during, or in the immediate aftermath of, the bloody, internecine war that accompanied the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Belgium’s Blueprint, Croatia’s Chaos, and the Murky Path to World Cup Glory," 10 July 2018 The path replaces the one destroyed by early spring storms, which also caused the collapse of a viewing platform at the site. Staff Report, Post-Tribune, "Community news," 3 July 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

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

Noun

see collapse entry 1

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Statistics for collapse

Last Updated

12 Dec 2018

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

Comments on collapse

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