\ 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


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

Another year elapsed before the Yellen Fed raised the funds rate again. Alan S. Blinder, WSJ, "A Return to Normalcy Will Be the Fed’s Biggest Test," 10 Sep. 2018 Limiting how much time can elapse between a crime and its prosecution has been standard practice in America since its founding. Ruth Padawer, New York Times, "Should Statutes of Limitations for Rape Be Abolished?," 19 June 2018 In the two days that elapsed between his announcement as 2019 Oscars host and his apparent resignation from the job, Hart stuck by this code of silence. Aja Romano, Vox, "Why the Kevin Hart Oscars backlash is different from other recent public shamings," 5 Jan. 2019 How much time elapsed from the moment gunfire erupted until the last victim was shot remains unclear. Washington Post, "School shooting may not bring change to gun-loving Texas," 23 May 2018 The passenger sent out a message to her friends asking for help prior to her murder, but more than 14 hours elapsed before local authorities arrested Zhong. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "China’s Didi suspends ride-share service after the murder of a female passenger," 26 Aug. 2018 The exclusions process was established only after an additional 11 days had elapsed. David J. Lynch, chicagotribune.com, "Flood of U.S. companies seek relief on tariffs," 20 June 2018 With those 30 days now elapsed, the administration has this time gone the other direction and removed the exemptions. Neil Irwin, New York Times, "The Economy Can Handle Steel and Aluminum Tariffs. The Real Risk Is Erratic Policy.," 31 May 2018 Despite protests from numerous speakers at its November meeting, the review board proceeded with the dismissals saying the investigations could not be finished because the one-year time limit had elapsed. Jeff Mcdonald, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Law enforcement review board lacks accountability, staff and funding, grand jury report says," 31 May 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

19 Jun 2019

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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with elapse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


to take the place or position of

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