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

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 How to pronounce collapsibility (audio) \ noun
collapsible \ kə-​ˈlap-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce collapsible (audio) \ 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

Somalia later collapsed into anarchy and became a haven for jihadists and pirates. The Economist, "Jihadists are trying to take over the Sahel," 12 July 2018 The building partially collapsed, forcing emergency responders to work an active fire, KCENTV.com reported. Prescotte Stokes Iii, star-telegram, "Explosion at central Texas hospital forces evacuation of at least 12 people, reports say," 26 June 2018 The security guards, some wearing jeans and T-shirts and two in the leather vests of a motorcycle club, collapsed the canopy, and stood nearby to make sure Taylor didn’t put it back up, Taylor said. Otis R. Taylor Jr., SFChronicle.com, "Oakland city politics: Running against Desley Brooks? You may run a risk," 22 June 2018 Icelandic low-cost carrier WOW Air, which specialized in linking cities in the U.S. with European destinations, has collapsed, adding to a string of airlines overseas that have faltered in recent months amid stiff competition and rising costs. Robert Wall, WSJ, "WOW Air Flights Canceled as Budget Airline Collapses," 28 Mar. 2019 Williams, who was wearing a knit beanie over her blonde hair, then starts dancing, collapsing, and jumping around upon seeing the display. Marci Robin, Allure, "Hayley Williams Just Dyed Her Hair Orange Again, and Paramore Fans Are Freaking Out," 14 Mar. 2019 Part of a cliff collapsed Thursday at Greece's popular Navagio beach on the island of Zakynthos, injuring at least seven people, reports Reuters. Katherine Lagrave, Condé Nast Traveler, "Landslide Injures Tourists at Greece's Famous 'Shipwreck' Beach," 14 Sep. 2018 The 24-inch diameter brick sewer line collapsed about 15 feet below street level. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Citizens Energy: Sinkhole repairs could close Downtown intersection through July 13," 6 July 2018 Across the street, one of the columns of a neighbor’s home was collapsed and debris from the plane was strewn throughout the street. Amy Taxin, The Seattle Times, "Neighbors: Plane ‘sounded like a missile’ as it broke apart," 5 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The actions taken Thursday come less than a month after the collapse of talks between the two countries over freezing North Korea’s weapons programs in exchange for sanctions relief. Kristin Broughton, WSJ, "Treasury Department Accuses North Korea of Evading U.S. Sanctions," 21 Mar. 2019 Hard to believe now, but Russia’s leadership wanted to use shock therapy after the collapse of the Soviet Union to create a market economy and align closely with the West. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "‘It’s the economy, stupid,’ and the bad luck of George H.W. Bush," 4 Dec. 2018 The sequel to John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire brings us back to the world of the Interdependency, an interstellar empire that’s on the verge of collapse. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "10 new sci-fi and fantasy books to check out for the rest of October," 15 Oct. 2018 A few days after the collapse, trustees approved $611,000 to begin repairs but quickly determined the emergency project needed to be expanded from the original 600 feet near the hole to 910 feet, covering a 30-inch sewer. Phil Rockrohr, chicagotribune.com, "'High priority project' to repair sewer lines throughout Lake Zurich starting soon," 12 July 2018 Economists say reform is necessary in order to offset the double-strain on the country’s economy of a growing number of retirees combined with the lower birth rates seen after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Elena Holodny /, NBC News, "Vladimir Putin's popularity dips amid retirement age proposal," 9 July 2018 Two weeks after the collapse of half of a Kentucky bourbon warehouse, the other half has caved in, taking another 9,000 barrels of liquor with it. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Another 9,000 Barrels of Kentucky Bourbon Lost in Second Warehouse Collapse," 5 July 2018 In 1991, shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Pantera shared a bill in Moscow with Metallica and AC/DC, Sykes says, performing before more than a million people. Robert Philpot, star-telegram, "Former Pantera tour manager shares memories of Vinnie Paul, Dimebag Darrell," 1 July 2018 Everything changed in 1989, after the collapse of the Iron Curtain and the arrival of capitalism, with its notion of the sacred right to private property. Joanna Berendt, New York Times, "In Poland, ‘a Narrow Window to Do Justice’ for Those Robbed by Nazis," 10 June 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

18 Apr 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 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 collapsibility (audio) \ noun
collapsible \ -​ˈlap-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce collapsible (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

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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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