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

But Penn keeps the pertinent details, including a tidbit about how Joe Roberts once tried being a farmer before the wheat market collapsed. Noel Murray, The Verge, "Bruce Springsteen’s Netflix special makes this a great weekend for The Indian Runner," 14 Dec. 2018 The approvals by Beijing on Oct. 13 were notable for their timing, coming just as Chinese and U.S. officials were seeking to restart trade talks that had collapsed amid acrimony. Gerry Shih, The Seattle Times, "China greenlights large batch of Ivanka Trump trademark applications," 6 Nov. 2018 The traditional open-world exploration interface has been cut down to a handful of symbols that track your core health and well-being, as well as an optional minimap that can collapse into a simple on-screen compass (or even to nothing at all). Daniel Starkey, Ars Technica, "Red Dead Redemption II review: Getting muddy in the wide-open frontier," 25 Oct. 2018 Victims' relatives gathered at the site of a seven-story downtown office building that collapsed in last year's magnitude 7.1 quake that killed 228 people in the capital and 141 more in nearby states. Peter Orsi, Fox News, "Mexico commemorates victims of deadly quakes," 19 Sep. 2018 That led to massive hyperinflation and food shortages that effectively collapsed the country’s economy: Experts put the cost to Zimbabwe’s economy at around $20 billion. Jennifer Williams, Vox, "Trump’s tweet echoing white nationalist propaganda about South African farmers, explained," 23 Aug. 2018 Now an attorney, Gregory has spent much of the last year digging through records, trying to uncover who is responsible for the vacant house that collapsed and killed a man in March 2016. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "With ownership in question, lawsuit stalls over deadly West Baltimore collapse," 12 July 2018 Crews are working to repair a century-old brick sewer line that collapsed on July 4, causing a 3-foot wide, 8-foot deep hole to open in the street. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Downtown sinkhole repair deadline pushed back to July 15," 11 July 2018 Stephanie Elliott lives just five yards away from a massive warehouse holding thousands of bourbon barrels, just like the one that collapsed. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Barton 1792 spill filled big bourbon ponds with thousands of gallons," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, traditional Armenian rugmaking is once again thriving. Glenn Dixon, Smithsonian, "The Age-Old Tradition of Armenian Carpet Making Refuses to Be Swept Under the Rug," 6 July 2018 The collapse of the oil price in the 1980s and 1990s weakened a stable social democracy, hollowing out its welfare state, causing bank failures and exposing corruption. The Economist, "The price of electing saviours in Latin America," 27 June 2018 Andre Elias told Globo TV that at least one person had been killed in the collapse. Peter Prengaman And Sarah Dilorenzo, chicagotribune.com, "Sao Paulo high rise collapses after fire; at least 1 dead," 1 May 2018 Guests are still recovering from the reception, especially Cara Delevingne, who shared a picture of her post-wedding collapse, snapped by none other than fellow wedding guest Liv Tyler. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Royal Wedding Guests Are Still Recovering from Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbanks' Reception," 13 Oct. 2018 All of the bodies in our Solar System started out hot, with energy built up by their gravitational collapse and subsequent bombardment. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Ice volcanoes have likely been erupting for billions of years on Ceres," 18 Sep. 2018 For Tammy, her collapse seemed to be a bit of a wake-up call to do just that. Emma Sarran Webster, Teen Vogue, "Model Tammy Hembrow Speaks Out After Collapsing at Kylie Jenner's 21st Birthday Party," 13 Aug. 2018 Some of the most striking photos of the damage include the collapse of a street in Anchorage’s business district due to a landslide. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Alaska’s earthquake didn’t kill anyone—here’s why," 3 Dec. 2018 The incident marked the first overt collision between Russian and Ukrainian militaries since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Yuras Karmanau, The Seattle Times, "Putin derides Ukraine’s martial law as political trick," 28 Nov. 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 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

10 Jan 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 \
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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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

Comments on collapse

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