\ 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 The two things that are so important in this case is the time that elapsed and the information that was not given to officer Sweeney to make the proper decision of what’s going on,’’ said Gary James, Sweeney’s attorney, the Oklahoman reported. BostonGlobe.com, "Okla. officer who shot an unarmed, suicidal man soaked in lighter fluid is convicted of murder - The Boston Globe," 6 Nov. 2019 By comparison, the number of seconds that have elapsed since the Big Bang is only about 259. Quanta Magazine, "In Game Theory, No Clear Path to Equilibrium," 18 July 2017 Not even twenty-four hours had elapsed since the two articles passed and, as in the October and November debates, an impeachment question was the first posed to the candidates. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, "The Impeachment Question Democrats Didn’t Answer During the Debate," 21 Dec. 2019 In total, 64 hours would elapse before our power would return on Tuesday, Oct. 29, hours before winds picked up once more and hundreds of thousands of PG&E customer accounts went dark again. Vanessa Hua, SFChronicle.com, "Power shut-offs: Anxiety creeps in when lights go out," 31 Oct. 2019 And, despite 88 minutes of time having elapsed, there were more/mar miracles to come. SI.com, "Barcelona 6-1 PSG: Remembering That Mad Midweek Miracle at Camp Nou," 30 Oct. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for elapse

Time Traveler

The first known use of elapse was in 1644

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Statistics for elapse

Last Updated

13 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Elapse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elapse?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=e&file=elapse01. Accessed 18 Feb. 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

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