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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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 Agricultural exports and tax revenue collapsed, the central bank began printing banknotes so the government could pay its workers, and inflation skyrocketed to the point where prices were doubling every day. Washington Post, "Why Post-Mugabe Zimbabwe Remains Mired in Misery," 18 Sep. 2019 His experience with the captaincy and calm head is precisely what Pep needs as City threaten to collapse (relatively speaking). SI.com, "Manchester City: Why Now Is the Time for Pep Guardiola to Give Youngsters a Chance," 16 Sep. 2019 After talks with the Assn. of Talent Agents collapsed, the union began negotiating with individual agencies. Wendy Lee, Los Angeles Times, "WGA West President David Goodman easily reelected as union spars over agency fight," 16 Sep. 2019 Retaliation any greater than a token strike (think Syria 2016) would prod the nuclear deal -- the JCPOA -- another step closer to collapsing, 16 months after Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement. Tim Lister, CNN, "After the Saudi oil attacks, all options carry great risk," 16 Sep. 2019 The sick passenger appeared to be in her 20s and collapsed at the beginning of the descent, according to Newshub. Fox News, "Passenger flying from Argentina to New Zealand died minutes before flight landed: report," 14 Sep. 2019 When the towers collapsed, hundreds of tons of asbestos vaporized into the air. Caroline Lester, The New Yorker, "The Continuing Legacy of 9/11," 11 Sep. 2019 Tuesday’s commemorations were peaceful until the walkway collapsed, triggering the chaos. BostonGlobe.com, "Afdhal al-Shami, a shrine official, denied that there was a collapse or any cracks in the walkway. ‘‘It was a stampede that led to this incident,’’ he said.," 11 Sep. 2019 In classic wildcatter style, Mr. Pickens’s fortunes rose to prodigious heights and then collapsed, only to resume their roller coaster course in later years. Jonathan Kandell, New York Times, "T. Boone Pickens Is Dead; Oil Magnate and Corporate Raider Was 91," 11 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Debris from the collapse of the building struck a firefighter, who was knocked unconscious and hospitalized for a concussion. Dakin Andone, CNN, "Suspect in Minnesota synagogue fire tried to put it out, police say," 16 Sep. 2019 Chevron approved the project in 2016 at what may have seemed like an inopportune time: The world was awash in oil, and the industry was still reeling from a price collapse that had begun in 2014. Stanley Reed, New York Times, "A Windswept Plain, a Sea of Oil and a Mountain of Money," 30 Aug. 2019 The officer’s quarters, including the captain's rooms, have vanished and the hull is beginning to collapse, taking the state rooms with it. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "The Titanic Is Being Reclaimed by the Sea," 22 Aug. 2019 In certain cases, private military and security companies may be used to insulate a regime from collapse. Jonathan Powell, Quartz Africa, "The controversial role of private military and security companies in Africa," 9 Aug. 2019 At least one person was killed and two others were injured Friday afternoon from a bluff collapse in Encinitas, California near San Diego. CBS News, "At least 1 dead and several others injured in bluff collapse near San Diego," 2 Aug. 2019 The department said Howard Street will be fully closed again Sunday at midnight to continue repairs from the underground collapse. Mckenna Oxenden, baltimoresun.com, "Baltimore reopening Howard, Pratt streets lanes temporarily for Billy Joel concert, Ravens practice, boxing match," 25 July 2019 The beloved Obama was wiped out in two midterm elections and nearly defeated in 2012 largely because the natural recovery from the 2008 collapse turned out to be not much of a recovery at all. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "The Economy, Father of Us All," 23 July 2019 The Englishman was a surprise champion at Augusta National after benefiting from a Sunday collapse by Jordan Spieth. Steve Douglas, BostonGlobe.com, "Down 4 shots, Tommy Fleetwood ready to chase Shane Lowry," 20 July 2019

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

31 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for collapse

The first known use of collapse was in 1732

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More Definitions for collapse

collapse

verb
How to pronounce collapse (audio)

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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