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

But there’s a very good chance that distance will collapse again, and sooner than expected. Elena Nicolaou, refinery29.com, "The Handmaid's Tale Season 3, Episode 7 Recap: A Criminal Record," 5 July 2019 Dorcilien ran off, but collapsed and died nearby, where investigators later found him. Jon O'neill, sun-sentinel.com, "Police: Dispute led to stabbing, shooting," 4 July 2019 Ralph Seichi Miyata collapsed in the water and later died, joining her first into the lake and then into the afterlife. Tribune News Service, oregonlive.com, "Man scatters ashes of wife of 64 years at lake, then drops dead in the water," 22 June 2019 And this month, the news organizations detailed the case of a 45-year-old woman who collapsed at a high school football game in Cumberland in August and died after four calls to 911. Lynn Arditi, ProPublica, "After Serious 911 Mishaps, Rhode Island Will Now Pay for Better Training," 17 June 2019 The officer kicked him in the right leg so hard that the father collapsed, and then the officer yanked him back up. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "Family that claims Phoenix police pointed gun at children, used excessive force to file $10 million lawsuit," 13 June 2019 Dimon has previously said JPMorgan, which expanded during the crisis by acquiring collapsing rivals, didn’t need a bailout to survive. David Scheer, Fortune, "Bernie Sanders Taunts Jamie Dimon After JPMorgan Chase CEO Knocks Socialism," 12 June 2019 As a group of officers labored to put the new hoop together, dozens of kids jumped on the bouncy castle, munched on food and threw down some final dunks on the collapsing hoop. Jack Mccordick, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee police officers build basketball hoop, host block party for neighborhood kids," 8 June 2019 Perhaps the earthquake swarm was the result of magma squishing through the subsurface, and the low-frequency rumble was caused by waves resonating in a collapsing magma chamber. National Geographic, "Strange waves rippled around Earth. Now we may know why.," 21 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

When Garcia began his 13-year assignment as rector of San Fernando, the cathedral had cracks in the walls and ceilings, and a dome in danger of collapse. Scott Huddleston, ExpressNews.com, "Father David’s role grew from San Antonio parish priest to major community leader," 8 July 2019 The cause of the collapse is unknown, and no further information was available Wednesday evening on the identity of the man or his employer. Jaclyn Cosgrove, latimes.com, "Trench collapse kills worker in Encino," 3 July 2019 Madrid gave away a first-leg 3-0 lead to Juventus and their season looked to be on the brink of collapse. SI.com, "Zinedine Zidane: Cataloguing the Frenchman's Transition From Midfield Magician to Managerial Maestro," 2 July 2019 Much of the vehicle was left buried under dirt and rubble as a result of the collapse. Fox News, "Garbage truck falls into massive sink hole in Italian city, sparking evacuations," 2 July 2019 There’s no need to go into specifics of the collapse. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Fifty years later, the Cubs’ 1969 collapse to the Mets still triggers anxiety in Baby Boomers," 22 June 2019 So how did Connecticut’s tournament survive the verge of collapse to become, once again, a prime destination event for the world’s best golfers? Alex Putterman, courant.com, "In 2002, the Greater Hartford Open nearly went broke; here’s how organizers, with help from Phil Mickelson, kept it afloat," 16 June 2019 When a block burned down, owners of adjacent buildings would then sell their own for fear of collapse, and Crassus would swoop on the easy pickings. Andrea Frediani, National Geographic, "Money was not enough for Crassus, the richest man in Rome," 11 June 2019 Earlier studies focused on identifying a single cause of the collapse. Gabriel D. Wrobel, The Conversation, "Trophies made from human skulls hint at regional conflicts around the time of Maya civilization’s mysterious collapse," 10 June 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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Statistics for collapse

Last Updated

11 Jul 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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