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 Florida State scored 32 points off turnovers in a game that Louisville, which would also collapse three days later against Duke, led for nearly 31 minutes. Lucas Aulbach, The Courier-Journal, "'You can count these as March Madness games': Why Florida State-Louisville is a key moment," 3 Jan. 2020 Without Suleimani and Iran, Assad would not have survived, and his regime would have collapsed much earlier. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "The Meaning of Qassem Suleimani’s Death in the Middle East," 3 Jan. 2020 The Nantucket, Massachusetts, groping case against Oscar winner Kevin Spacey collapsed at the pretrial stage last year after the accuser refused to testify. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Harvey Weinstein's sex-crimes trial to begin in New York: What you need to know," 3 Jan. 2020 Domes once covered the underground chambers, but the roofs and upper walls have long since collapsed, burying the tombs beneath thousands of melon-sized stones and a tangle of grape vines. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Archaeologists unearth gold-lined Mycenaean royal tombs in Greece," 21 Dec. 2019 With a ripping crack, my lower-right wing collapsed and the entire spread of taut canvas on the top wing tore loose and went flapping away in shreds. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "The Long, Complicated History of the Very First Flight," 17 Dec. 2019 For another, his area of Germany was actually a Swedish possession at the time, and in the wake of Prussia’s defeat, Swedish dominion there was also collapsing. Adrian Daub, Longreads, "All Hail the Rat King," 13 Dec. 2019 Part of a crater wall collapsed and a landslide destroyed the miners' village and the mine itself. Fox News, "New Zealand volcano explosion leaves American couple with severe burns, death toll rises to 6," 10 Dec. 2019 The firm collapsed last year, with its owners claiming insolvency while the company controlled 10% of Arkansas' licensed nursing home beds. Kat Stromquist, Arkansas Online, "Nursing homes hustle to move out 60 residents," 8 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Corruption, economic sanctions and mismanagement have left the country’s infrastructure in a state of collapse. Michael Robinson Chavez, Washington Post, "Venezuela’s collapse: Enduring a catastrophe," 30 Dec. 2019 After the Arab Spring most of the floating hotels that shuttle along the Nile were tied up 10- or 12-deep on the riverbank, becoming a symbol of the collapse of Egypt's tourism. Anthony Sattin, Condé Nast Traveler, "As Travelers Return to Egypt, Look Past Cairo," 24 Dec. 2019 Edgewater maintenance quickly came to the scene and filled the hole with sand and placed a cone at the epicenter of the collapse. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, "Large hole opens on Edgewater High School field during soccer game, leaky irrigation to blame," 5 Dec. 2019 Our institutions were crumbling under the pressure of the collapse of print journalism. CBS News, "Transcript: Senator Michael Bennet talks with Michael Morell on "Intelligence Matters"," 27 Nov. 2019 In wealthy states, dilapidated schools have been closed for fear of collapse. The Economist, "Are the black zero’s days numbered? Why Germany sticks to strict budget rules despite a slowdown," 14 Nov. 2019 The court ruled on three cases and said that homeowner’s insurance policies can exclude crumbling foundations under the existing definition of collapse. Kathleen Mcwilliams, courant.com, "A Supreme Court decision dashed homeowners’ hopes of getting their foundation repairs paid for by insurance companies. Here’s what you need to know:," 13 Nov. 2019 Building inspectors determined the structure was at risk of further collapse, Copa-Wiggins said. Taylor Pettaway, ExpressNews.com, "Church looking to move forward after roof collapse," 25 Oct. 2019 The intersection remained closed as of 1 p.m. The cause of the collapse is not yet known. Amanda Zhou, Indianapolis Star, "Vacant building near Ivy Tech campus collapses," 22 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

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Collapse.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collapsed. Accessed 19 January 2020.

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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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Comments on collapse

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