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 Crews were onsite for nearly two hours and put up shoring to ensure the carport wouldn’t collapse, according to Joanna Leal, Alameda County Fire Department spokesperson. Kellie Hwang, SFChronicle.com, "Video: SUV crashes through San Leandro carport, dangles over embankment," 10 Jan. 2021 The European Union’s project of integration could stall or collapse, buffeted both by fiscal crises and populist passions. Washington Post, "The world in 2030 may be worse than in 2020," 4 Jan. 2021 Leonard missed four consecutive shots during the stretch, but when George finally got the ball in the final seconds on the right wing and drove, Batum knew the Suns’ defense would collapse and that his opportunity to shoot would be waiting. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, "After confrontation, Paul George has the last word in Clippers’ win over Suns," 3 Jan. 2021 Neither has Brown’s chops as a playmaker who can collapse a defense and create open looks for teammates on a consistent basis. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Elite freshmen in Greg Brown, Cade Cunningham meet as Texas faces Oklahoma State," 19 Dec. 2020 And the change won’t come overnight; soils in the process of thawing are an inherently unstable recipe for mayhem as roads and bridges crack and buildings collapse with the seasonal heaves and sinks of the earth. New York Times, "How Russia Wins the Climate Crisis," 16 Dec. 2020 And the change won’t come overnight; soils in the process of thawing are an inherently unstable recipe for mayhem as roads and bridges crack and buildings collapse with the seasonal heaves and sinks of the earth. Sergey Ponomarev, ProPublica, "The Big Thaw: How Russia Could Dominate a Warming World," 16 Dec. 2020 Universal Studios, a unit of Comcast, forged an agreement with three large movie chains to collapse the time between a film’s premiere in theaters to when it can be sold to online audiences for $20. Kelly Gilblom, Fortune, "Warner Bros. to release all 2021 films on HBO Max and in theaters," 3 Dec. 2020 City fire officials said on Twitter that there was an explosion at a building in the 100 block of West Fayette Street in the downtown area that caused part of its roof to collapse. Washington Post, "Explosion at building in Baltimore leaves at least 10 people hurt," 23 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The deal comes at a time when many Texas restaurants are on the verge of financial collapse amid the pandemic. Claire Ballor, Dallas News, "New stimulus deal includes an extra boost for restaurants, but is it enough?," 21 Dec. 2020 The majority of Americans who lost jobs this year were laid off from small businesses, many of which had no option but to cut workers to stave off financial collapse. Washington Post, "America’s biggest companies are flourishing during the pandemic and putting thousands of people out of work," 16 Dec. 2020 The majority of Americans who lost jobs this year were laid off from small businesses, many of which had no option but to cut workers to stave off financial collapse. Anchorage Daily News, "America’s biggest companies flourished during the pandemic but put 100,000 out of work and rewarded investors, analysis shows," 16 Dec. 2020 Some of this collapse is tied to a need for milkweed, the only plant that monarch caterpillars can eat. New York Times, "Monarch Butterflies Qualify for Endangered List. They Still Won’t Be Protected.," 15 Dec. 2020 Friday’s move could devastate city restaurant owners who have been on the brink of financial collapse since the early days of the pandemic. Cassidy Morrison, Washington Examiner, "Indoor dining in New York City shuts down for a second time," 11 Dec. 2020 Still, as other businesses began re-opening, the theater industry remained in a state of total collapse. cincinnati.com, "Help support quality local journalism like this.," 10 Dec. 2020 Byrne, who was born in 1962, in Indiana, credits his father for his preoccupation with the possibility of societal collapse. Sheelah Kolhatkar, The New Yorker, "A Tycoon’s Deep-State Conspiracy Dive," 7 Dec. 2020 Then the bottom fell out of Lebanon’s economy this year in a combination of financial collapse and the coronavirus pandemic. Dalal Mawad, The Christian Science Monitor, "Lebanese duo helps stranded migrant workers find a way home," 9 Nov. 2020

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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Statistics for collapse

Last Updated

16 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Collapse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collapse. Accessed 18 Jan. 2021.

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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 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

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