1

lapse

play
noun \ˈlaps\

Definition of lapse

  1. 1a :  a slight error typically due to forgetfulness or inattention a lapse in table manners a lapse in securityb :  a temporary deviation or fall especially from a higher to a lower state a lapse from grace ethical lapses

  2. 2 :  a becoming less :  decline a lapse in the supply of technicians

  3. 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 policyb :  interruption, discontinuance returned to college after a lapse of several years

  4. 4 :  an abandonment of religious faith

  5. 5 :  a passage of time; also :  interval the roots of trees … have been preserved after a lapse of five thousand years — Niger Calder

Examples of lapse in a Sentence

  1. He blamed the error on a minor mental lapse.

  2. a lapse into bad habits

Origin and Etymology of lapse

Latin lapsus, from labi to slip — more at sleep

Synonym Discussion of lapse

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

2

lapse

verb

Definition of lapse

lapsed

;

lapsing

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 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 standardb :  sink, slip lapsed into unconsciousness

  3. 2 :  to go out of existence :  cease after a few polite exchanges, the conversation lapsed

  4. 3 :  to pass from one proprietor to another or from an original owner by omission or negligence allowed the insurance policy to lapse

  5. 4 :  to glide along :  pass time lapses

  6. transitive verb
  7. :  to let slip :  forfeit all of those who have lapsed their membership — AAUP Bull.

lapser

noun

Examples of lapse in a Sentence

  1. After a few polite words the conversation lapsed.

  2. Her interest in politics lapsed while she was in medical school.

  3. She didn't pay the premium and her life insurance policy lapsed.

  4. He forgot to renew his driver's license, so it lapsed.

  5. She allowed the magazine subscription to lapse.

Origin and Etymology of lapse

see 1lapse



LAPSE Defined for English Language Learners

lapse

play
noun

Definition of lapse for English Language Learners

  • : 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

Definition of lapse for English Language Learners

  • : to stop for usually a brief time

  • : to become no longer effective or valid


LAPSE Defined for Kids

1

lapse

play
noun \ˈlaps\

Definition of lapse for Students

  1. 1 :  a slight error usually caused by lack of attention or forgetfulness a lapse in manners lapses in judgment

  2. 2 :  a change that results in a worse condition She suffered a lapse in confidence.

  3. 3 :  a passage of time He returned after a lapse of two years.


2

lapse

play
verb

Definition of lapse for Students

lapsed

;

lapsing

  1. 1 :  to slip, pass, or fall gradually The conversation lapsed into silence.

  2. 2 :  to come to an end :  cease The car insurance lapsed.


Law Dictionary

1

lapse

play
noun \ˈlaps\

Legal Definition of lapse

  1. :  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


2

lapse

verb

Legal Definition of lapse

lapsed

lapsing

  1. intransitive verb
  2. :  to terminate, become ineffective, or fail the bequest lapsed when the son died before the father allowed the insurance policy to lapse
  3. transitive verb
  4. :  to cause (as a policy) to lapse the company lapsed the policy



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

clear to the understanding

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • istock-refers-to-this-as-a-tumble-of-strawberries-which-sounded-pretty-nice-to-us
  • Which is a synonym of garner?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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!