lapse

noun
\ˈlaps \

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

Moments like that have been counterbalanced with occasional defensive lapses, some of which have led to goals. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City left back Mohamed El-Munir comfortable with versatile role," 10 July 2018 Nadal’s lapse makes his eventual win ever more impressive. Sean Gregory, Time, "This Year's Wimbledon Could Give Tennis Fans Another Roger Federer-Rafael Nadal Classic," 29 June 2018 Facebook is all about removing sour tastes this year, following a series of controversies involving privacy lapses. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, "Retailers Beware: Facebook Will Ban Your Ads If You're 'Bad'," 12 June 2018 Pruitt left office Thursday after questions of lavish spending, mismanagement, and ethical lapses. Eric Niiler, WIRED, "The Future of Former EPA Chief Scott Pruitt's Anti-Science Legacy," 6 July 2018 No one is around to notice the memory lapses that may signal Alzheimer’s. Harris County Public Health, Houston Chronicle, "Help is here to combat epidemic of social isolation," 22 June 2018 But now the media industry is wondering if some of her success is due to top-secret pillow talk — and ethical lapses that may have come with it. Brian Flood, Fox News, "Did 'hotshot' NY Times reporter Ali Watkins simply benefit from top-secret pillow talk?," 13 June 2018 Because of an error, Weißer and Habalov didn’t notify Mozilla of the flaw until November 2017, a lapse that explains why a Firefox fix wasn’t available until two weeks ago. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Chrome and Firefox leaks let sites steal visitors’ Facebook names, profile pics," 31 May 2018 Companies with safety lapses are still considered top contenders to oversee future projects, thus benefiting from the Trump administration’s trillion-dollar decision to revamp the U.S. nuclear arsenal. Lovely Umayam, The New Republic, "The Nuclear Industry’s Winners and Losers," 31 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That controversy aside, does the article raise questions that might fairly be explored in a nomination process — without lapsing into anti-Catholicism? Mark Tushnet, Vox, "Is it anti-Catholic to ask a Supreme Court nominee how her religion affects her decisions?," 5 July 2018 Delighted at the attention, Victor parlayed his parenting lapse into two full days of media coverage, lecturing the Pittsburgh press like a visiting diplomat. Daniel De Vise, Chicago Reader, "How two Belgian boys became the youngest kids to bike across the U.S.—in 1935," 21 June 2018 Instead, what the Jacksons served up was a dose of full-on, unashamed nostalgia — delivered with just enough sizzle to keep it from lapsing into outdated routine. Brian Mccollum, Detroit Free Press, "Jacksons overcome technical woes to sparkle at Detroit Music Weekend," 17 June 2018 There’s something so satisfying about a time-lapse video — especially ones that speed-up actions as complex and precise as the installation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s new Costume Institute exhibit. Emilia Petrarca, The Cut, "See How the ‘Heavenly Bodies’ Met Show Came Together," 25 May 2018 The midnight funding lapse prompted the government to curtail services and paychecks to its employees. Philip Elliott, Time, "The Shutdown Ended Because Democrats Lost Their Spine," 22 Jan. 2018 While United has settled the incident in a confidential lawsuit, Bahetoukilae's family is more concerned about the major security lapse the airline allowed. Lyndsey Matthews, Marie Claire, "United Turned a Woman's 7-Hour Flight into a 28-Hour Fiasco," 8 May 2017 Those affected included the working poor who earn too much to be eligible for Medicaid and patients who have allowed their Medicaid coverage to lapse, or have shifted to Medicare, which doesn't cover addiction medication. Brenda Cain, cleveland.com, "Cost of methadone skyrockets leaving local treatment center to scramble for funding," 7 Feb. 2018 But the Trump administration has said the pledges fell short, and formal negotiations have lapsed in recent months. New York Times, BostonGlobe.com, "Trade war with China looms as midnight tariff deadline approaches," 6 July 2018

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

Latin lapsus, from labi to slip — more at sleep

Verb

see lapse entry 1

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Learn More about lapse

Phrases Related to lapse

lapse into

memory lapse

Statistics for lapse

Last Updated

10 Oct 2018

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 \

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 \

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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Comments on lapse

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