col·​li·​sion kə-ˈli-zhən How to pronounce collision (audio)
: an act or instance of colliding : clash
: an encounter between particles (such as atoms or molecules) resulting in exchange or transformation of energy
kə-ˈlizh-nəl How to pronounce collision (audio)
collisionally adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for collision

impact, collision, shock, concussion mean a forceful, even violent contact between two or more things.

impact may be used to imply contact between two things, at least one of which is impelled toward the other.

the glass shattered on impact with the floor

collision implies the coming together of two or more things with such force that both or all are damaged or their progress is severely impeded.

the collision damaged the vehicle

shock often denotes the effect produced by a collision and carries the suggestion of something that strikes or hits with force.

the shock of falling rocks

concussion when not in technical use, often suggests the shattering, disrupting, or weakening effects of a collision, explosion, or blow.

bystanders felt the concussion of the blast

Examples of collision in a Sentence

The car was destroyed in the collision. the collision of two opposing philosophies regarding the rearing of children
Recent Examples on the Web Police said it is not believed drugs or alcohol were factors in the collision. Harry Harris, The Mercury News, 13 Feb. 2024 Authorities say he was thrown about 50 feet in the collision. Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times, 13 Feb. 2024 The collision happened shortly after 6 p.m. on 54th Street near College Boulevard, Officer John Buttle said. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Feb. 2024 While Hamlin’s collision and fall took place in quick succession on live TV, the symptoms of CTE may not emerge until years after the head injuries happen. Adina Wise, STAT, 9 Feb. 2024 The Waymo collision is the second accident involving a human and a self-driving vehicle in San Francisco in recent months. Jody Serrano / Gizmodo, Quartz, 8 Feb. 2024 Deputies responded to a three-car collision involving a sedan and two trucks in Moreno Valley shortly after 10:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5, according to a Feb. 6 news release from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Office. Daniella Segura, Sacramento Bee, 7 Feb. 2024 In addition to hiring more air traffic controllers, the legislation would also help prevent collisions by deploying runway safety technologies to more airports that can track aircraft and other vehicles’ exact location on the runway. Jessica Puckett, Condé Nast Traveler, 7 Feb. 2024 In a video published to Facebook on November 14th, Hidalgo promoted the referendum by referencing a World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) study that found SUVs to be 20 percent more polluting and twice as likely to kill a pedestrian in a collision compared to smaller conventional cars. Jess Weatherbed, The Verge, 5 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'collision.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Latin collision-, collisio, from collidere

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of collision was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near collision

Cite this Entry

“Collision.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


col·​li·​sion kə-ˈlizh-ən How to pronounce collision (audio)
: an act or instance of colliding

More from Merriam-Webster on collision

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