collapse

verb
col·lapse | \kə-ˈlaps \
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 \ noun
collapsible \kə-ˈlap-sə-bəl \ 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

The intersection will reopen at 8 p.m. The more than 100-year-old brick sewer line collapsed on July 4, causing a 3-foot wide, 8-foot deep hole to open in the street. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "Downtown sinkhole fixed, streets to reopen tonight," 13 July 2018 Officials wanted to do the inspection after sanitary sewers overseen by the village collapsed, requiring costly emergency repairs, Brown said. Phil Rockrohr, chicagotribune.com, "'High priority project' to repair sewer lines throughout Lake Zurich starting soon," 12 July 2018 Weakened by heat, the links failed, the columns buckled, the towers collapsed. New York Times, "The Last 9/11 Fire Chief Bows Out," 10 July 2018 Although his cult largely collapsed after his arrest, some of his loyal followers still maintain his innocence. Christine Pelisek, PEOPLE.com, "The Story Behind a Black Supremacist Cult That Lived in Egyptian-Themed Compound in Rural Georgia," 6 July 2018 In the past 20 years, more than 150 firefighters have suffered fatal injuries when part of an unoccupied building collapsed. Mike Hendricks, kansascity, "In a tragic loop, firefighters continue to die from preventable mistakes," 13 July 2018 The result will be familiar to many — a tree that leafs out with not a whole lot of vim and vigor and then collapses after a few hot days. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "There's no such thing as 'average' Kentucky weather. And trees hate that," 13 July 2018 In handcuffs and jail attire, Chapa said the killing was in retaliation for Pantoja’s running Jimenez down with his pickup the previous June, leaving him with a fractured hip, collapsed lung and other injuries. Bruce Selcraig, San Antonio Express-News, "Accused in S.A. murder trial found not guilty," 12 July 2018 The story is brought alive by Mr French’s Shanghai-noir telling, which echoes Dashiell Hammett and James Ellroy: Illicit hooch becomes a lethal blend…and drunks stagger and collapse on the Avenue Haig. The Economist, "A gripping tale of Sodom sliding towards its bloody end," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The subsequent collapse in government bonds was unprecedented for Italy. Paul Dobson, Bloomberg.com, "Why Italy's Political Struggles Stoke Euro Worries," 6 June 2018 Since a number of these plans are large, a collapse could cause the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC), the federal agency that insures the benefits of private-sector pensions, to become insolvent. Joel Naroff, Philly.com, "The looming retirement crisis for public and private employees," 12 July 2018 The collapse of these clouds causes a deadly avalanche of hot rocks, gas, and volcanic ash that races down the mountainside in a deadly pyroclastic flow. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "Five Things to Know About Guatemala’s Deadly Volcanic Eruption," 4 June 2018 The collapse caused magma to push more than 10 miles (16 kilometers) downslope toward the populated southeast coastline. Bloomberg.com, "Hawaii Braces for Long Upheaval as Erupting Kilauea Boils," 6 May 2018 The collapse caused magma to push more than 10 miles downslope toward the populated southeast coastline. Caleb Jones And Audrey Mcavoy, chicagotribune.com, "Hawaiians brace for more lava, earthquakes as erupting Kilauea volcano boils," 5 May 2018 The collapse caused magma to push more than 10 miles downslope toward the populated southeast coastline. CBS News, "Hawaii rattled by quakes as Kilauea volcano spews lava and toxic gas," 5 May 2018 The collapse caused magma to push more than 10 miles (16 kilometers) downslope toward the populated southeast coastline. Washington Post, "Quakes, lava and gas: Hawaii residents flee volcanic threats," 5 May 2018 The collapse caused magma to push more than 10 miles (16 kilometers) downslope toward the populated southeast coastline of the island. Caleb Jones, Fox News, "Hawaii volcano shoots lava into sky; evacuations ordered," 5 May 2018

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

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

Noun

see collapse entry 1

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Phrases Related to collapse

collapse/fall (etc.) in a heap

Statistics for collapse

Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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 \
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 \
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 \ noun
collapsible \-ˈlap-sə-bəl \ 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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Comments on collapse

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a state of commotion or excitement

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