lapse

noun
\ ˈlaps How to pronounce lapse (audio) \

Definition of lapse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a slight error typically due to forgetfulness or inattention a lapse in table manners a lapse in security
b : a temporary deviation or fall especially from a higher to a lower state a lapse from grace ethical lapses
2 : a becoming less : decline a lapse in the supply of technicians
3a(1) : the termination of a right or privilege through neglect to exercise it within some limit of time
(2) : termination of coverage for nonpayment of premiums the lapse of an insurance policy
b : interruption, discontinuance returned to college after a lapse of several years
4 : an abandonment of religious faith
5 : a passage of time also : interval the roots of trees … have been preserved after a lapse of five thousand years — Niger Calder

lapse

verb
lapsed; lapsing

Definition of lapse (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1a : to fall from an attained and usually high level (as of morals or manners) to one much lower also : to depart from an accepted pattern or standard
b : sink, slip lapsed into unconsciousness
2 : to go out of existence : cease after a few polite exchanges, the conversation lapsed
3 : to pass from one proprietor to another or from an original owner by omission or negligence allowed the insurance policy to lapse
4 : to glide along : pass time lapses

transitive verb

: to let slip : forfeit all of those who have lapsed their membershipAAUP Bull.

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Other Words from lapse

Verb

lapser noun

Choose the Right Synonym for lapse

Noun

error, mistake, blunder, slip, lapse mean a departure from what is true, right, or proper. error suggests the existence of a standard or guide and a straying from the right course through failure to make effective use of this. procedural errors mistake implies misconception or inadvertence and usually expresses less criticism than error. dialed the wrong number by mistake blunder regularly imputes stupidity or ignorance as a cause and connotes some degree of blame. diplomatic blunders slip stresses inadvertence or accident and applies especially to trivial but embarrassing mistakes. a slip of the tongue lapse stresses forgetfulness, weakness, or inattention as a cause. a lapse in judgment

Examples of lapse in a Sentence

Noun

He blamed the error on a minor mental lapse. a lapse into bad habits

Verb

After a few polite words the conversation lapsed. Her interest in politics lapsed while she was in medical school. She didn't pay the premium and her life insurance policy lapsed. He forgot to renew his driver's license, so it lapsed. She allowed the magazine subscription to lapse.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Time-lapse video shows one of the screens go up at the new Silverspot Cinema at The Corners in Brookfield. Chris Foran, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Silverspot Cinema's new theater at The Corners in Brookfield finally sets a premiere date," 24 June 2019 Use time-lapse techniques to show the sun dipping behind the massive red dunes at Sossusvlei, zoom in on a sea of zebras visiting a watering hole, or take portraits of new friends while visiting a San camp. National Geographic, "Namibia High School Expedition," 17 June 2019 So the visuals come alive with stills, movement, slow motion and time-lapse. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Apple's new Photos app for iOS 13 may just be the tool you've been waiting for," 4 June 2019 For a more unexpected shot (and to test your phone's new slow shutter app), head to the Best Buy garage on fifth and Alton for some prime time-lapse photo opps. Claire Volkman, Marie Claire, "The 8 Most Instagrammable U.S. Cities to Visit This Summer," 1 June 2017 With the Sox clinging to a 3-2 lead in the eighth, the Rangers capitalized on a pair of Red Sox lapses. Alex Speier, BostonGlobe.com, "Bases-loaded walk in ninth lifts Red Sox past Rangers," 12 June 2019 Yet Turok and colleagues argue partly on the grounds of causality that only real values of lapse make physical sense. Quanta Magazine, "Physicists Debate Hawking’s Idea That the Universe Had No Beginning," 6 June 2019 The contempt ruling, issued by Judge D. Charles Bailey of the Washington County Circuit Court, is the sternest and most consequential rebuke yet of the state’s lapses handling the rise in criminal cases with mentally ill defendants. oregonlive.com, "Judge holds Oregon in contempt, finding state violates mentally ill defendants’ rights," 4 June 2019 The Federal Trade Commission’s coming resolution of its yearlong investigation of alleged privacy lapses at Facebook Inc. looms as a defining moment for U.S. policy on consumer data, one with lasting ramifications for companies that collect it. John D. Mckinnon, WSJ, "Looming Facebook Fine Points to a Tougher Cop on the Tech Beat," 25 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Many ordinary Hongkongers are unhappy with the passive proposal to let the bill lapse, however, and demand its formal withdrawal along with Lam’s resignation. Time Staff, Time, "Hong Kong's Embattled Leader Appeals for Calm in the Wake of Violent Anti-Government Protests," 2 July 2019 San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, on whose watch the program lapsed, and County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, who has made mental health programs a priority at the county level since his election last year, announced the program’s revival on Monday. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Editorial: Frequent 911 callers a proper focus again in San Diego," 25 June 2019 Related But those benefits lapsed, and taxpayers affected by superstorm Sandy in 2012 in New York and New Jersey never got enough support in Congress for tax relief. Richard Rubin, WSJ, "After Scattered Efforts, Congress Weighs Blanket Tax Breaks for Disaster Victims," 20 June 2019 An interim suppression order barring the publication of the identity of survivors also lapsed and will not be reinstated. NBC News, "Christchurch mosque attack suspect pleads not guilty, trial set for next year," 14 June 2019 Membership of the Europol crime-fighting agency would lapse, as would eligibility to use the European Arrest Warrant. The Economist, "Tory candidates are misleading people about a no-deal Brexit," 13 June 2019 In August 2015, the statute of limitations on three of the four allegations lapsed. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, "Julian Assange scores legal victory as Swedish court denies detention request," 4 June 2019 So to get people engaged, and to bring lapsed players back, Niantic is now opening as many avenues as possible to get involved, explore the story, and possibly attend an Anomaly event in the future. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Niantic’s massive Ingress reboot launches today on iOS and Android," 5 Nov. 2018 People may forget to take their medication and lapse into an unprotected state. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Scripps Research forges ahead with drugs for arthritis, malaria and cancer," 14 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lapse.' 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 lapse

Noun

1526, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1611, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for lapse

Noun and Verb

Latin lapsus, from labi to slip — more at sleep

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Statistics for lapse

Last Updated

4 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lapse

The first known use of lapse was in 1526

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More Definitions for lapse

lapse

noun

Financial Definition of lapse

What It Is

Lapse refers to the expiration of an insurance policy or other agreement.

How It Works

Let's say John Doe has a life insurance policy with a $5,000 annual premium. This year, John can't make the payment because he has lost his job. As a result, he misses the payment and his life insurance coverage lapses, meaning that it is no longer valid. Later that year, John dies. Accordingly, his daughter does not receive the death benefit from the policy.

Why It Matters

In general, a lapse is a bad thing and it means that one party has failed to fulfill its obligations under a contract.

Source: Investing Answers

lapse

noun

English Language Learners Definition of lapse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an occurrence in which you fail to think or act in the usual or proper way for a brief time and make a mistake
: an occurrence in which someone behaves badly for usually a short period of time
: a change that results in worse behavior

lapse

verb

English Language Learners Definition of lapse (Entry 2 of 2)

: to stop for usually a brief time
: to become no longer effective or valid

lapse

noun
\ ˈlaps How to pronounce lapse (audio) \

Kids Definition of lapse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a slight error usually caused by lack of attention or forgetfulness a lapse in manners lapses in judgment
2 : a change that results in a worse condition She suffered a lapse in confidence.
3 : a passage of time He returned after a lapse of two years.

lapse

verb
lapsed; lapsing

Kids Definition of lapse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to slip, pass, or fall gradually The conversation lapsed into silence.
2 : to come to an end : cease The car insurance lapsed.

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lapse

noun
\ ˈlaps How to pronounce lapse (audio) \

Legal Definition of lapse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a termination or failure due to events, neglect, or time: as
a : the failure of a bequest (as because the intended recipient dies before the testator) — compare anti-lapse statute
b : the termination of an insurance policy because of nonpayment of premiums or nonrenewal

lapse

verb
lapsed; lapsing

Legal Definition of lapse (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to terminate, become ineffective, or fail the bequest lapsed when the son died before the father allowed the insurance policy to lapse

transitive verb

: to cause (as a policy) to lapse the company lapsed the policy

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More from Merriam-Webster on lapse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lapse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lapse

Spanish Central: Translation of lapse

Nglish: Translation of lapse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lapse for Arabic Speakers

Comments on lapse

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