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 But concrete is strong, and the structures of the new buildings hold, while hundreds of heritage residences are disemboweled and their old sandstone walls collapse on top of their occupants. Charif Majdalani, WSJ, 24 July 2021 The final result doesn’t so much bridge numbers and geometry as collapse the ground between them. Quanta Magazine, 19 July 2021 One asterisk — if bipartisan infrastructure talks collapse, that measure's $600 billion in new spending would likely end up in the larger package. Alan Fram, Star Tribune, 19 July 2021 Wage and price controls would seriously erode personal freedom, McCracken said, and quickly collapse unless the underlying monetary and fiscal sources of inflation were restricted. Bruce Bartlett, The New Republic, 9 July 2021 Many residents of Champlain Towers South whose condos didn't collapse had to evacuate without many of their belongings, leaving behind clothes, valuables and family photographs. Madeline Holcombe, CNN, 5 July 2021 The timing of the demolition depends on how swiftly workers can drill holes and insert explosive charges — a slow process to ensure the building doesn’t collapse prematurely in an uncontrolled way. Staff And Wire Reports, sun-sentinel.com, 4 July 2021 The timing of the demolition depends on how swiftly workers can drill holes and insert explosive charges — a slow process to ensure the building doesn’t collapse prematurely in an uncontrolled way. Rebecca Santana And Bobby Caina Calvan, chicagotribune.com, 4 July 2021 Amid the carnage of the Champlain Towers collapse, though, the retrieval of bodies has taken much longer. Washington Post, 4 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On his desk recently sat a newspaper reporting the Florida condo collapse, which had happened several days earlier. Washington Post, 25 July 2021 While tons of rubble have been cleared from the site of the devastating Surfside, Florida condo collapse last month, one person remains missing. Jason Duaine Hahn, PEOPLE.com, 23 July 2021 On the heels of the Surfside condo collapse, city officials have been more closely scrutinizing older structures. Deborah Acosta, WSJ, 23 July 2021 Several Indiana emergency workers who deployed to Florida to help search and rescue efforts after the Surfside condo collapse have tested positive for COVID-19. Johnny Magdaleno, The Indianapolis Star, 16 July 2021 Miami-Dade police identified four more victims of the Surfside condo collapse Thursday. BostonGlobe.com, 15 July 2021 Firefighters from Garland and Grapevine fire departments were recently deployed to Surfside, Fla. to provide mental health support to fellow firefighters and frontline workers at the condo collapse. Dallas News, 14 July 2021 Doing nothing will ultimately be more costly than taking action, and there is such a thing as moving too slowly as the condo collapse has demonstrated. Arkansas Online, 9 July 2021 Meanwhile, the condo collapse continues to garner greater scrutiny of the inner workings of condo owners associations, including training for association members. Christine Fernando, USA TODAY, 9 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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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

27 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Collapse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collapse. Accessed 4 Aug. 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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