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

TechCrunch notes that Dougherty is working to try and keep the company from collapsing entirely, to keep the magazine’s archives online and to license the name to future events. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "The company behind Maker Faire and Make magazine has abruptly shut down," 8 June 2019 On May 25, Miranda Schaup-Werner, an Allentown, Pennsylvania psychotherapist, 41, collapsed shortly after mixing a drink from the minibar in the hotel she’d recently checked into to celebrate her 9th wedding anniversary with husband Daniel Werner. Steve Helling, PEOPLE.com, "Colorado Couple Says They Became Violently Sick at Dominican Resort Where 3 Americans Died," 7 June 2019 The family says Schaup-Werner collapsed and died, shortly after having a drink at the hotel. CBS News, "3 Americans have mysteriously died at a Dominican Republic hotel," 5 June 2019 The star collapses in on itself, followed by a violent explosion—no going silently into the night around here. Chris Lee, Ars Technica, "Two white dwarfs collide, may end up as neutron star," 29 May 2019 Additionally, Drogon, whom Daenerys always rides, nearly collapsed under the weight of rioting wights. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Viserion Is Finally Dead for Good on Game of Thrones," 29 Apr. 2019 In my experience, any swim top that looks like a narrow shelf bra is bound to be followed by underboob and the sensation that your top could collapse at any moment. Glamour, "I Tried on 30 Swimsuits For My 34F Figure—These Are the Absolute Best," 20 May 2019 When looters dig up the contents of the grave pit, the center of the mound usually collapses. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Satellites watch over the graves of ancient steppe nomads," 26 Dec. 2018 As skies filled with smoke, passersby watched in horror as the flames spread from the spire (now collapsed) to one of the cathedral’s rectangular towers. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris Catches Fire," 15 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

First and foremost, Stewart said, families want to know: ‘‘Why is this so damn hard and takes so damn long?’’ The collapse of the World Trade Center in September 2001 sent a cloud of thick dust billowing over Lower Manhattan. Matthew Daly, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Shameful.’ Emotional Jon Stewart lashes out at Congress over 9/11 victims fund," 11 June 2019 Of those who perished during the initial attacks and the subsequent collapses of the towers, 343 were New York City firefighters, 23 were New York City police officers and 37 were officers at the Port Authority. Emanuella Grinberg, CNN, "New York 9/11 victim's remains identified almost 18 years later," 10 June 2019 For many years now — since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than a quarter of a century ago — Tajikistan has been ruled by one dictator, Emomali Rahmon. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "Riveting Tales: An Oslo Journal, Part III," 10 June 2019 The collapse of the company is a huge blow to the larger making community, providing a central outlet to encourage people to learn how to build their own things, rather than just relying on companies to manufacture gadgets and products. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "The company behind Maker Faire and Make magazine has abruptly shut down," 8 June 2019 The disclosures, in detailed inventories released Friday, follow the deadly collapse of a mine-waste dam in Brazil, owned by Brazilian company Vale SA, earlier this year, which killed 270 people. Alistair Macdonald, WSJ, "Big Mining Companies Disclose Questionable Stability of Dams," 8 June 2019 Lego returned to growth last year after a tough two years marked by its first drop in sales and profits in more than a decade, and the collapse of Toys R Us in 2017, which upended its American business. Mary Hui, Quartz, "Dragon boats and rice dumplings are part of Lego’s big China plans," 6 June 2019 The collapse of the colleges prevented the students from gaining credit for the term and left them saddled with student loan debt. William Thornton | Wthornton@al.com, al.com, "Former Virginia College students suing over closure," 4 June 2019 Months after the tragic collapse of Genoa’s Morandi Bridge that killed 43 people, the Italian city is making plans to replace it. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Renzo Piano reveals design to replace collapsed Genoa bridge," 21 Dec. 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

13 Jun 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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