\ 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 Detectives haven’t said how much time elapsed between Randazzo’s two encounters with his killers. Lisa J. Huriash, sun-sentinel.com, "How firefighter’s stolen iPhone helped cops crack his murder case," 30 Oct. 2019 When the new deadline elapses on Oct. 29, joint Russian-Turkish troops will patrol a 6-mile-deep area to the west and east of the section of the border captured by Turkey during its invasion. NBC News, "This is how Putin and Erdogan have redrawn northeastern Syria," 23 Oct. 2019 But Farrow describes a much different timeline, in which more than three years elapsed before the company took action. Adam Epstein, Quartz, "The new details of rape allegations against Matt Lauer paint a disturbing picture of NBC News," 9 Oct. 2019 Just 12 seconds elapsed between Sweeney running from his patrol car and firing at Pigeon. BostonGlobe.com, "Okla. officer who shot an unarmed, suicidal man soaked in lighter fluid is convicted of murder - The Boston Globe," 6 Nov. 2019 Just 12 seconds elapsed between Sweeney running from his patrol car and firing at Pigeon. Tim Elfrink, Anchorage Daily News, "Oklahoma officer who shot an unarmed, suicidal man soaked in lighter fluid is convicted of murder," 5 Nov. 2019 Only 1:42 had elapsed when Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz found tight end Dallas Goedert on an 8-yard dart up the middle. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, "'We all had a good chuckle': Cowboys' 70-year-old defensive coordinator got his message across vs. Eagles," 21 Oct. 2019 In their most recent losses, to Denver and Pittsburgh at Dignity Health Sports Park, the Chargers fell behind after only 3:54 and 4:09 had elapsed, respectively. Jeff Miller, Los Angeles Times, "Slumping Chargers haven’t been scoring and haven’t led in a game since September," 15 Oct. 2019 Nearly 72 hours had elapsed between the Blackhawks’ disappointing season-opening 4-3 loss to the Flyers in Prague and a practice Monday at Fifth Third Arena that signaled a return to normalcy. Jimmy Greenfield, chicagotribune.com, "Don’t expect to see Kirby Dach in the Blackhawks’ home debut Thursday as they return to practice looking to tighten up after sloppy opener," 5 Oct. 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

4 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Elapse.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/elapses. Accessed 5 December 2019.

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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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