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 Officials initially reported that a fan had collapsed while walking on the steps of the upper deck. Washington Post, "Local Digest: Portions of Beltway to close for night repairs," 16 Jan. 2020 But the process would obliterate Oak Flat, and opponents fear the mine could also collapse nearby U.S. Highway 60 and Apache Leap. Debra Utacia Krol, azcentral, "Apache activist Wendsler Nosie followed a lifelong path to Resolution copper mine protest," 15 Jan. 2020 But less than a month before the Iowa caucuses, the Sanders-Warren detente has collapsed. David M. Drucker, Washington Examiner, "Liberal group asks Sanders and Warren to call a truce," 14 Jan. 2020 Mayor Santos Seda of Guánica, where some of the most serious damage was reported, told NotiCentro, a local news station, that at least four houses had collapsed. Alejandra Rosa, BostonGlobe.com, "Earthquake strikes Puerto Rico, toppling a well-known natural wonder," 6 Jan. 2020 The building looks like the entire roof has collapsed. Cincinnati.com, "Middletown fire crews continue to battle ‘catastrophic’ warehouse fire," 1 Jan. 2020 Public order has collapsed, violence is rampant, and populism is the new creed of the political class. Axel Kaiser, WSJ, "Latin America’s ‘Oasis’ Descends Into Chaos," 1 Jan. 2020 When America’s government barred its companies from doing business with Huawei on national-security grounds in May, some predicted that the Chinese maker of telecommunications gear might collapse. The Economist, "Business 2019 in review: coping with geopolitics and anti-capitalism," 27 Dec. 2019 What is to say that the Republic can become a stable governing force now that the First Order has collapsed? Eliana Dockterman, Time, "All the Questions We Still Have After Watching Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker," 20 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The collapse of the cease-fire effort is a major blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and their aspirations of becoming the main power brokers in Libya. Sudarsan Raghavan, BostonGlobe.com, "Libyan cease-fire unravels as commander leaves Moscow without signing," 14 Jan. 2020 But all Saturday's second-half collapse did was fuel a fire of frustration for Bearcats' fans who have watched their team reach the NCAA Tournament nine years in a row. Fletcher Page, Cincinnati.com, "Cincinnati basketball faked us out in latest collapse at Tulane," 4 Jan. 2020 In his New Red Menace speech, Daniels said that collapse would be, among other things, cruel — cruel to the poor. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "The Present Red Menace: A Conversation with Mitch Daniels, Part II," 17 Dec. 2019 The collapse of the unstable section of the Planpincieux glacier is not inevitable. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Radar installed to better watch unstable Mont Blanc glacier," 26 Sep. 2019 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

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

24 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Collapse.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collapsing. Accessed 25 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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