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 Actually, the aggressively nonsensical Westworld finale winds up arguing that society will collapse without the sacred orb. Darren Franich, EW.com, "Why are all these science-fiction shows so awful?," 30 July 2020 The 102-car Union Pacific freight train engulfed in flames on the more than 100-year-old bridge causing the structure to partially collapse on the south end. Chelsea Curtis, USA TODAY, "Arizona bridge partially detonated after train derailment; nearby residents asked to evacuate," 29 July 2020 The 102-car Union Pacific freight train engulfed in flames on the more than 100-year-old bridge causing the structure to partially collapse on the south end. Chelsea Curtis, The Arizona Republic, "Portion of Tempe Town Lake bridge damaged in train derailment detonated," 29 July 2020 Growth is now expected to collapse in many countries especially those dependent on tourism and resources, such as oil and mineral exporters. Yinka Adegoke, Quartz Africa, "Africa’s pathway to economic recovery post-Covid is looking much more murky," 6 July 2020 That causes the bag to collapse, thus inactivating the virus. Lorena Villanueva-almanza, The Indianapolis Star, "Indiana distilleries step up to produce hand sanitizer during coronavirus pandemic," 2 July 2020 Terowa'a is concerned that the hospital will collapse in the coming weeks. Rodrigo Pedroso And Shasta Darlington, CNN, "Five days of death as Covid-19 strikes an indigenous community in Brazil," 1 July 2020 But with corals enduring devastating mass bleaching events fueled by warming seas, reefs off of Pe’ahi are breaking down, causing large waves to collapse closer to shore, Storlazzi says. Molly Glick, Popular Science, "Pro surfers hit artificial waves in the heat of the climate crisis," 30 June 2020 The dairy industry has suffered from an oversupply of milk during the pandemic, which has led prices to collapse. Beth Kowitt, Fortune, "Perfect Day raises $300 million to make animal-free dairy," 8 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Wirecard collapse hit Commerzbank harder in Q2 than the pandemic did. David Meyer, Fortune, "What the Beirut blast tells us about fragility and risk," 5 Aug. 2020 The blast came at a time when Lebanon’s economy is facing collapse from the financial crisis and the coronavirus restrictions. Bassem Mroue, The Christian Science Monitor, "Mysterious, massive explosion in Beirut flattens port," 4 Aug. 2020 The blast came at a time when Lebanon's economy is facing collapse, hit both by a financial crisis and coronavirus restrictions. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Deadly explosion rocks Beirut, causing widespread damage," 4 Aug. 2020 The blast came at a time when Lebanon's economy is facing collapse from the financial crisis and the coronavirus restrictions. Bassem Mroue And Zeina Karam, Star Tribune, "Massive Beirut blast kills more than 70, injures thousands," 4 Aug. 2020 The blast came at a time when Lebanon's economy is facing collapse, hit both by a financial crisis and coronavirus restrictions. Bassem Mroue, Anchorage Daily News, "Huge explosions in Beirut cause widespread damage, hundreds of casualties," 4 Aug. 2020 In the past, every oil price collapse has revived talk among politicians of the need to diversify the economy. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "The American West’s economy has a lot in common with Saudi Arabia," 1 Aug. 2020 But Exxon, like Chevron, is not backing down from its commitment to U.S. shale, even as European oil majors have acknowledged the price collapse and long-term demand uncertainty could accelerate the clean energy transition. Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner, "Daily on Energy, presented by API: New heavyweight support for ending the filibuster," 31 July 2020 On Wednesday, a massive fire and partial bridge collapse occurred after a freight train derailed while crossing a bridge over Tempe Town Lake. Alana Minkler, The Arizona Republic, "Train derailments: 5 notable Arizona incidents, including 1973 train carrying bombs," 29 July 2020

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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Statistics for collapse

Last Updated

7 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Collapse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collapse. Accessed 14 Aug. 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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Comments on collapse

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