1

collapse

verb col·lapse \ kə-ˈlaps \
Updated on: 18 Nov 2017

Definition of collapse

collapsed; collapsing
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

collapsibility

play \kə-ˌlap-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun

collapsible

play \kə-ˈlap-sə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of collapse in a Sentence

  1. The roof collapsed under a heavy load of snow.

  2. The chair he was sitting in collapsed.

  3. He collapsed on stage during the performance and had to be rushed to the hospital.

  4. She came home from work and collapsed on the sofa.

  5. The crying child ran to his mother and collapsed in her arms.

  6. The civilization collapsed for reasons that are still unknown.

  7. He warned that such measures could cause the economy to collapse.

Recent Examples of collapse from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of collapse

Latin collapsus, past participle of collabi, from com- + labi to fall, slide — more at sleep

collapse Synonyms


2

collapse

noun

Definition of collapse

1 a :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

Examples of collapse in a Sentence

  1. The structure is in danger of collapse.

  2. She was on the verge of collapse.

  3. The country has endured civil war and economic collapse.

Recent Examples of collapse from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of collapse


COLLAPSE Defined for English Language Learners

collapse

verb

Definition of collapse for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of collapse for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

1

collapse

verb col·lapse \ kə-ˈlaps \

Definition of collapse for Students

collapsed; collapsing
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.

2

collapse

noun

Definition of collapse for Students

:the act or an instance of breaking down
  • The building is in danger of collapse.

Medical Dictionary

1

collapse

verb col·lapse \ kə-ˈlaps \

medical Definition of collapse

collapsed; collapsing
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

collapsibility

play \-ˌlap-sə-ˈbil-ət-ē\ noun

collapsible

play \-ˈlap-sə-bəl\ adjective

2

collapse

noun

medical Definition of collapse

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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