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 a collapsing golf club that can fit into a travel bag

transitive verb

1 : to cause to collapse buildings collapsed by an earthquake He knelt for a long time, first watching the bay below, then collapsing the spyglass and settling his hands on his legs in a thoughtful pose.— Heather Dunboine
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 Osama bin Laden was convinced that our national will would collapse with the Twin Towers. Steve Forbes, Forbes, 10 Sep. 2021 For Palestinians in Gaza, watching their neighborhoods collapse and pillars of smoke entomb their homes, the suffering is only deepening. Washington Post, 14 May 2021 Restaurants and bars saw their sales collapse last year because of the pandemic and have urged state leaders to help them. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 17 Mar. 2021 In 2015, China stepped in to save Olympic officials in a tough spot with an offer to host the 2022 Winter Games, after the IOC had a series of bids collapse amid growing public opposition. Tariq Panja, BostonGlobe.com, 12 Mar. 2021 In 2015, China stepped in to save Olympic officials in a tough spot with an offer to host the 2022 Winter Games, after the I.O.C. had a series of bids collapse amid growing public opposition. Tariq Panja, New York Times, 11 Mar. 2021 Officials reported structural damage, mainly to old houses and buildings that saw walls collapse or crack. Derek Gatopoulos And Costas Kantouris, Star Tribune, 3 Mar. 2021 In July, Biden used a question-and-answer session in the White House to downplay the prospect the Afghan government could collapse and the Taliban could take over, saying that outcome was not inevitable. Nikki Carvajal, CNN, 18 Aug. 2021 In late June, a stark new intelligence estimate said the government of President Ashraf Ghani could collapse in as soon as six months after the U.S. withdrew its troops from Afghanistan. Vivian Salama, WSJ, 15 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Three people have been arrested in South Florida and accused of identity theft of victims of the Surfside condo collapse, according to Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle. Dominic Rech, CNN, 9 Sep. 2021 Day was one of two interns who routinely worked as part of the newsroom team covering the Surfside condo collapse. Kathy Laskowski, sun-sentinel.com, 6 Sep. 2021 They were also equipped with all-terrain vehicles, search equipment as well as breach and breaking tools, which the team used over the summer in assisting with the search and rescue for victims of the Surfside condominium collapse near Miami. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, 2 Sep. 2021 Afraid her home could crumble around her following the condo collapse in Surfside, Fla., Brown sent pictures to her neighbors of her hand in the crack and urged them all to check under their carpets. Washington Post, 28 Aug. 2021 The Surfside collapse prompted lawsuits accusing the Champlain Towers South condo board of negligence. Jon Schuppe, NBC News, 12 Aug. 2021 By comparison, in Florida’s Surfside, where a condo collapse killed 98 people in late June, scientists put the subsidence rate at 0.08 inches. Los Angeles Times, 2 Aug. 2021 The remains of the last victim of the Surfside, Florida, condo collapse have been identified, a relative confirmed to ABC News Monday. Emily Shapiro, ABC News, 26 July 2021 The proposals that have emerged across the country since the Surfside collapse vary widely in scope and specificity. New York Times, 20 July 2021

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

1620, in the meaning defined at transitive 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 1620

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Dictionary Entries Near collapse

collapsar

collapse

collapse breccia

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Statistics for collapse

Last Updated

13 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Collapse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collapse. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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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 collapse (audio) \ noun
collapsible \ -​ˈlap-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce collapse (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

More from Merriam-Webster on collapse

Nglish: Translation of collapse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of collapse for Arabic Speakers

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