\ i-ˈlaps \
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

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Examples of elapse in a Sentence


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

With seven-plus years having elapsed since his last concerts in Los Angeles, Sir Rod more than made up for lost time on the second night of a two-date homecoming gig featuring special guest Cyndi Lauper. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, "Rod Stewart Announces New Album, Proves He's 'Forever Young' at Hollywood Bowl," 27 June 2018 In the absence of library board meeting minutes, which the library’s longtime director was not immediately able to find, the Daily Southtown could not independently verify the amount of time that had elapsed since the board last existed. Zak Koeske, Daily Southtown, "For years, there's been no financial oversight at the Calumet Park library. Now the state is getting involved.," 13 July 2018 Before four minutes had elapsed, the Warriors led 13-3 and Curry had nine. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "Stephen Curry started — and carried — a Warriors’ dynasty," 8 June 2018 Trochesset was responding to uncertainty about why 30 minutes elapsed before the teen was taken into custody on Friday morning. Washington Post, "Authorities in Texas say they confronted school gunman within 4 minutes," 21 May 2018 The decision is coming hours before temporary exemptions were due to elapse at 12:01 a.m. in Washington on Friday. Fortune, "U.S. Is Set to Impose Tariffs on Steel From EU, Canada, Mexico," 31 May 2018 Green was asked to make the switch halfway through training camp, after an entire offseason had elapsed and the time for teaching had passed. Stephen Holder, Indianapolis Star, "It's boom or bust for Colts safety T.J. Green: 'There ain't no time to waste'," 8 May 2018 So Ayrault calmly dribbled toward the key, waited for more time to elapse and became aggressive again by driving hard to the basket, ultimately being fouled hard to the floor with 4.1 seconds remaining. Keith Dunlap, Detroit Free Press, "Grosse Pointe North defeats rival Macomb Dakota in regional semifinal," 6 Mar. 2018 The old contract was set to elapse in September of this year. Atlanta Life, ajc, "Why Atlanta Symphony musicians are happy," 5 Mar. 2018

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.

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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

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Learn More about elapse

Dictionary Entries near elapse





elapsed time



Statistics for elapse

Last Updated

28 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for elapse

The first known use of elapse was in 1644

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More Definitions for elapse



English Language Learners Definition of elapse

of time : to pass by


\ i-ˈlaps \
elapsed; elapsing

Kids Definition of elapse

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

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Comments on elapse

What made you want to look up elapse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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