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 Much of the roofing has collapsed, exposing row upon row of Buddha figurines to the elements. Joshua Hammer, Smithsonian, "The Hidden City of Myanmar," 21 Nov. 2019 The health system has largely collapsed amid the worst economic crisis in more than a decade. Washington Post, "Zimbabwe police fire tear gas at opposition supporters," 20 Nov. 2019 The entire top floor had collapsed, and the facade was seared with black smoke stains. Wes Enzinna, Harper's magazine, "Gimme Shelter," 19 Nov. 2019 The Soviet Union had collapsed just a few years before Currentzis arrived, and there was a heavy melancholy in the air. Joshua Yaffa, The New Yorker, "Teodor Currentzis Brings His Intense Verdi to New York," 18 Nov. 2019 The salmon catch is collapsing off Japan's northern coast, plummeting by about 70 percent in the past 15 years. Author: Simon Denyer, Chris Mooney, Anchorage Daily News, "The climate chain reaction that threatens the heart of the Pacific," 13 Nov. 2019 Having collapsed into feuding city-states after the overthrow of the longtime Libyan dictator Col. David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, "Russian Snipers, Missiles and Warplanes Try to Tilt Libyan War," 5 Nov. 2019 His beloved grandmother had collapsed from a massive heart attack. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, "Mitch Albom: Juwan Howard, Michigan basketball and the 'beautiful road' that reunited them," 3 Nov. 2019 But past attempts to make such aqueous structures have literally collapsed, as their surfaces shrink and their structures crumple into useless blobs. Ian Randall, Science | AAAS, "Liquid-in-liquid printing method could put 3D-printed organs in reach," 1 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But that then created a problem and a weakness: the 2013-2014 crisis, the failure to intervene in response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, which was already the first stage in the collapse of the Western bloc. The Economist, "Emmanuel Macron in his own words (English)," 7 Nov. 2019 The Cardinals wilted in the spotlight in last February's collapse against Duke, and didn't look much better in overtime losses to Florida State and Pittsburgh. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "Can 6 freshmen, 6 veterans and a grad transfer lead Louisville to a national title?," 23 Oct. 2019 In 2006, former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling was sentenced by a federal judge in Houston to 24 years, four months for his role in the company’s collapse. BostonGlobe.com, "In 1707, the first Parliament of Great Britain, created by the Acts of Union between England and Scotland, held its first meeting.," 23 Oct. 2019 The collapse of the housing bubble hit California hard, pushing unemployment above 12%. Washington Post, Orange County Register, "This columnist thinks California is in big trouble. The fix? Kill Prop 13!," 22 Oct. 2019 The cranes — one around 270 feet (82 meters) high, the other about 300 feet (91 meters) — weighed thousands of tons and were badly damaged in the collapse. Rebecca Santana, Anchorage Daily News, "Leaning cranes toppled at partly collapsed New Orleans hotel," 21 Oct. 2019 Buzz60, Buzz60 Washington state investigators on Thursday fined three companies involved in a crane collapse that killed four people in Seattle in April, determining workers failed to follow manufacturer instructions. Kristin Lam, USA TODAY, "'Totally avoidable': 3 construction companies fined for deadly Seattle crane collapse," 18 Oct. 2019 But the story used to sketch in such a bracing and dark vision of social critique and the collapse of civilization turns schizoid and deranged. Patrick Z. Mcgavin, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Fight Club': THR's 1999 Review," 15 Oct. 2019 The collapse of zoning all over Lagos also led to residential neighborhoods such as Victoria Island and southwest Ikoyi being converted for commercial use. Ndubisi Onwuanyi, Quartz Africa, "The unplanned journey that led Lagos to becoming an overwhelmed megacity," 5 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for collapse

Time Traveler

The first known use of collapse was in 1732

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Statistics for collapse

Last Updated

28 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Collapse.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collapse?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=c&file=collap01. Accessed 10 December 2019.

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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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