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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That is harder now because the population of breeding sows has collapsed. The Economist, "Soaring pork prices hog headlines and sow discontent in China," 12 Sep. 2019 Similarly, physicists assume a coffee cup cannot be here and there because something has collapsed its superposition one way or the other—perhaps contact with the surroundings. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Twist on ‘survival of the fittest’ could explain how reality emerges from the quantum haze," 12 Sep. 2019 All the others have collapsed, and this one is now struggling to gain traction. Tim Lister, CNN, "The Central African Republic faces a Syria-sized crisis," 11 Sep. 2019 State Emergency Response Team spokeswoman Diana Kees said in an email Saturday afternoon that a 67-year-old man died Friday in Pamlico County after collapsing at his home while cleaning storm debris. Washington Post, "The Latest: Widespread blackouts as Dorian continues march," 10 Sep. 2019 On the expectation of Macri’s defeat, the Argentina peso has collapsed, capital is fleeing, inflation is climbing and the economy is in free-fall, with annual growth below 1%. Tracy Wilkinsonstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Argentina election raises doubts about Trump’s bet on right-wing leaders," 10 Sep. 2019 Cincinnati defensive back Kyriq McDonald is recovering after collapsing on the field during the first quarter of Saturday’s 42-0 loss at Ohio State. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "Cincinnati’s Kyriq McDonald collapses on field during game with Ohio State," 7 Sep. 2019 McNair died of heatstroke in June 2018 after collapsing at an offseason team workout in late May. Questions were raised on the handling of Maryland's football program following his death. Jenna West, SI.com, "Maryland Players and More Pay Tribute to Jordan McNair After 79–0 Win," 31 Aug. 2019 Hugo Alfredo Santillán, a 23-year-old Argentine, died on July 25, five days after collapsing at the end of a lightweight fight in Buenos Aires. Scott Cacciola, New York Times, "After Two Deaths Days Apart, Boxing Examines Its Risks," 7 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The report reveals an alarmingly quick collapse of dogs that arrived healthy and strong in Jordan, only to be fighting for their lives in a matter of months. oregonlive, "U.S. officials knew bomb-sniffing dogs were dying from neglect in Jordan. They sent more.," 16 Sep. 2019 Of the five sacks Ohio State recorded against Indiana, almost all of them involved a second player (or more) helping collapse the pocket. Nathan Baird, cleveland.com, "Is Ohio State football’s defense ready for Clemson and Alabama? Buckeye Rewatch," 16 Sep. 2019 The exodus began after Maduro was elected, in 2013, when, in response to dwindling oil prices and economic mismanagement, the government tried to stave off collapse by printing more money. Jonathan Blitzer, The New Yorker, "The Fight for the Latino Vote in Florida," 16 Sep. 2019 Fisheries managers are trying to prevent a collapse of the fishery as occurred in 2005 in Lake Huron. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The DNR has proposed increases in chinook stocking, and there's still time to weigh in," 14 Sep. 2019 But Chinese President Xi Jinping balked at enshrining key provisions in the country’s legal code, leading to the talks’ collapse, according to US officials. BostonGlobe.com, "China said on Friday it was canceling planned tariff increases on American soybeans and pork, the latest sign of a diplomatic thaw in the US-China trade war that could lead to an interim agreement this fall.," 14 Sep. 2019 Meanwhile, the fresh memory of the towers’ collapse was getting grooved in the brain. Wired, "The Day After 9/11," 12 Sep. 2019 That buyout collapse was preceded by Singapore Exchange’s failed bid for Australia’s exchange. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Hong Kong’s attempted buyout of London Stock Exchange is the most audacious in history," 11 Sep. 2019 Shawn Windsor and Dave Birkett, Detroit Free Press Damon Harrison took the brunt of the blame on Twitter for the Detroit Lions’ defensive collapse shortly after Sunday’s 27-27 tie in Arizona. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions' Damon Harrison denies fatigue: 'I can take the blame'," 9 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about collapse

Statistics for collapse

Last Updated

19 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for collapse

The first known use of collapse was in 1732

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on collapse

What made you want to look up collapse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to spread over or through

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!