\ 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

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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 In a 72-56 loss to Kansas on Sunday, nearly eight minutes elapsed before Stanford scored and the Cardinal didn’t make a field goal for nearly 12 minutes. Steve Kroner, SFChronicle.com, "Stanford starts slowly, still dusts Cal in Pac-12 opener," 2 Jan. 2020 More than a year elapsed between when Smokes and Warren filed their motion in court and the first date of the hearing. Jennifer Gonnerman, The New Yorker, "The Importance of Cigarette Receipts," 25 Oct. 2019 And in a recent decision, the US Court of International Trade, a federal court, ruled that Trump could not raise tariffs on steel exports from Turkey because a 180-day deadline set for that decision had already elapsed. BostonGlobe.com, "Trump, in a message on Twitter, accused Brazil and Argentina of manipulating their currencies and hurting American farmers. “Therefore, effective immediately, I will restore the Tariffs on all Steel & Aluminum that is shipped into the US from those countries.”," 3 Dec. 2019 From snap to takedown, 10.31 seconds elapsed, the longest time before a sack in the past two seasons, according to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, "Ravens film study: Texans QB Deshaun Watson never got going vs. an aggressive, organized pass rush," 20 Nov. 2019 Total time elapsed for Monday’s Federal Heights City Council meeting: fewer than 5 minutes. John Aguilar, The Denver Post, "Ghost council meeting in Federal Heights speaks to tumult at the top of city government," 4 Nov. 2019 That three-year commitment elapsed in 2014, and Thomas was returned to the Central Jail pending a hearing on whether he should be recommitted to Atascadero as a mentally disordered offender, or MDO. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mistakes, lack of oversight are not always fatal," 23 Sep. 2019 Miller’s defense was so suffocating that Bondy’s attack didn’t take its first shot at the goal until over three minutes had elapsed from the first-period clock. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Miller 8A girls make quick work of Bondy in 37-20 victory," 11 Dec. 2019 That prompted D'Antoni to issue the coach's challenge, a request that was denied after the 30-second time window elapsed from the timeout. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "NBA denies Rockets' protest over James Harden's uncounted basket in loss to Spurs," 9 Dec. 2019

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

Time Traveler for elapse

Time Traveler

The first known use of elapse was in 1644

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Statistics for elapse

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elapse.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elapse. Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for elapse


How to pronounce elapse (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of elapse

of time : to pass by


\ 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on elapse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for elapse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with elapse

Spanish Central: Translation of elapse

Nglish: Translation of elapse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of elapse for Arabic Speakers

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).


good-natured easy friendliness

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