\ i-ˈlaps How to pronounce elapse (audio) \
elapsed; elapsing

Definition of elapse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: pass, go by four years elapsed before he returned



Definition of elapse (Entry 2 of 2)

: passage returned after an elapse of 15 years

Examples of elapse in a Sentence

Verb in those coin-operated binoculars at scenic areas your viewing time seems to elapse almost before it has begun
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb As time went on, however, many of these benefits expired or were struck down in courts or permitted to elapse by Congress. Grace Segers, The New Republic, 25 Apr. 2022 Also, how much time had to elapse between the balloon landing and the actual tip-off of the game? Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 21 Mar. 2022 In the end, 20 months would elapse before Hegerberg played again. New York Times, 23 Mar. 2022 This month, the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, which Haaland oversees, allowed a 45-day review period to elapse without taking action on the agreement. Dara Kam, sun-sentinel.com, 19 Aug. 2021 Centuries may elapse before someone gives dissolution a name and a date. Cullen Murphy, The Atlantic, 1 Mar. 2022 Some have seen their entire careers elapse just for this telescope, while others have moved onto other fields. Emre Kelly, USA TODAY, 25 Dec. 2021 The Golden Eagles erupt as the final seconds elapse in their Division 1 Super Bowl victory over Central Catholic Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. Nate Weitzer, BostonGlobe.com, 2 Dec. 2021 The time since the arguments is less than a blink of an eye in high-court terms, where months typically elapse between arguments and a decision. Mark Sherman, Chron, 19 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'elapse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of elapse


1644, in the meaning defined above


circa 1677, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for elapse


Latin elapsus, past participle of elabi, from e- + labi to slip — more at sleep

Learn More About elapse

Dictionary Entries Near elapse



elapsed time

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for elapse

Last Updated

6 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Elapse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elapse. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for elapse


\ i-ˈlaps How to pronounce elapse (audio) \
elapsed; elapsing

Kids Definition of elapse

: to slip past : go by Nearly a year elapsed before his return.

More from Merriam-Webster on elapse

Nglish: Translation of elapse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of elapse for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Eponyms: Words Named After People

True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!