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.

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In a separate project, NASA released a stunning 61-minute time-lapse video that shows a decade in the life of the sun. Fox News, "Gigantic 'superflare' spotted on nearby star," 14 July 2020 The lapse of the WROAF stands in stark contrast to the bombast with which Snyder, who has owned the Redskins since 1999, announced its creation. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "As Redskins review name, Dan Snyder's once-touted Native American foundation has gone dark," 9 July 2020 What is clear, however, is that letting this benefit lapse will force some unemployed Americans, particularly those in lower-income households, to rely on expensive credit card debt to make ends meet. Matt Egan, CNN, "Americans are rapidly shrinking their credit card debt during the pandemic," 9 July 2020 Both Bryant covers paintings and NBA 2K21 shared a time-lapse video of their creation. Washington Post, "Kobe Bryant honored on NBA 2K ‘Mamba Forever’ edition," 2 July 2020 Check out this cool time lapse of a decade of images of the sun. oregonlive, "Portland Wednesday weather: First day of July feels more like May, drizzly, cool temps," 1 July 2020 In a statement accompanying the time-lapse video posted to YouTube, NASA noted that, as of June 2020, SDO has been watching the sun non-stop for over a full decade. Fox News, "Stunning NASA time-lapse video shows 10 years in life of sun," 2 July 2020 Deus’ heart and kidneys were fragile from their lapse in oxygen, her lungs papered with scars. Eric Boodman, STAT, "In the Covid-19 death of a hospital food worker, a microcosm of the pandemic," 30 June 2020 Interplay imagery is more like that of weather maps, games, or time-lapse. Quartz Staff, Quartz, "Keller Easterling on what coronavirus tells us about this moment," 30 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Wolf administration has been facing growing calls to extend the four-month-old moratorium – which had been set to lapse Friday – with housing advocates and others predicting a rush to the courthouse and a wave of evictions and homelessness. USA TODAY, "Post-rally surge, PPE stocks, antibody study: News from around our 50 states," 11 July 2020 There is a danger, Arnett said, that after a move back home, parents and children will lapse into their old roles. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, "The Pandemic’s Boomerang Generation Has Settled In," 3 July 2020 But without China at the table, the prospects for an ambitious new accord to replace New START seem remote — the treaty is set to lapse in just over seven months. Jamie Mcintyre, Washington Examiner, "Trump wants to replace New START with a treaty that includes China," 25 June 2020 That order was set to lapse -- but it will now be extended until the end of 2020 and expanded to include some guest worker visas. Matt Egan, CNN, "Trump's latest moves aren't exactly a winning economic -- or reelection -- strategy," 24 June 2020 But Congress has never successfully used this power, and the executive branch has allowed fewer than half of the sixty-five emergencies declared under the law to lapse. Christopher Beha, Harper's Magazine, "States of Emergency," 23 June 2020 Unless crew-changes restart, insurance contracts could lapse—a headache for the entire industry. The Economist, "Sailors are stranded at sea Cargo ship crews are stuck at sea," 20 June 2020 President Donald Trump and some Republican lawmakers point to the surprising growth of 2.5 million jobs in May as reason to allow the program to lapse. NBC News, "Trump administration considering 'back to work' cash bonus — but would it work?," 16 June 2020 If New START were allowed to lapse, the world would be without any formal arms control arrangements for the first time in almost half a century. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, "Resetting the Russia relationship: A China play, too?," 15 June 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about lapse

Time Traveler for lapse

Time Traveler

The first known use of lapse was in 1526

See more words from the same year

Statistics for lapse

Last Updated

19 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Lapse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lapse. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lapse

lapse

noun
How to pronounce lapse (audio)

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.

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on lapse

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lapse

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lapse

Spanish Central: Translation of lapse

Nglish: Translation of lapse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lapse for Arabic Speakers

Comments on lapse

What made you want to look up lapse? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!