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

Of course, being too hasty in deliberating and releasing regulatory guidance could lead to the SEC shouldering blame for any lapses or fraudulent activity. Rey Mashayekhi, Fortune, "U.S. Risks Falling Behind the World in Embracing Crypto, Warns “Crypto Mom” SEC Commissioner," 16 July 2019 The university cited that lapse in suspending Meyer for the first three games of the season after an investigation. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, "Urban Meyer to co-host podcast about ‘elite leadership, culture and behavior’," 9 July 2019 Accepting Silicon Valley money has become controversial at a time when big tech companies are under siege for lapses with privacy and misinformation. New York Times, "Big Donors, Small Donors: Pete Buttigieg Has Courted Them All — Successfully," 1 July 2019 The singer’s musical accompaniment for the new CGI remake neglects to include any artists from the region that inspired the film—a curious lapse in narrative fidelity. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "What’s Missing From Beyoncé’s Lion King Soundtrack," 19 July 2019 Gangwal had levelled serious charges of a lapse in governance. Niharika Sharma, Quartz India, "Despite the boardroom tussle, IndiGo may hold on to its top spot in Indian aviation," 12 July 2019 Symptoms of epilepsy vary based on their type Epilepsy symptoms manifest differently based on their severity, from convulsions and a loss of consciousness to a brief lapse in awareness accompanied by rapid blinking, the NINDS says. Scottie Andrew And Geetha Parachuru, CNN, "What is epilepsy? Here's what you need to know about the seizure-causing spectrum of disorders," 8 July 2019 Our father had just endured the worst days of his life, indeed was still in the midst of them, and such a lapse ought to be both explicable and forgivable. Justin Taylor, Harper's magazine, "What it Means to Be Alive," 10 June 2019 Defenders of this ridiculous situation insist a temporary lapse in full commission membership won’t cause irreparable harm. The Kansas City Star Editorial Board, kansascity, "Why is Gov. Eric Greitens leaving the Missouri Ethics Commission to languish?," 14 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Assault weapons bans The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, lapsed in 2004. Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY, "This is the gun control legislation Mitch McConnell won't allow senators to vote on," 4 Aug. 2019 Forecasters issued a thunderstorm warning that will lapse at 4:45 p.m. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Thunderstorms near Julian could affect highways 78, 79 and S2," 24 July 2019 Missouri’s health department allowed the clinic’s license to perform abortions to lapse effective June 1. Jim Salter, The Denver Post, "Missouri denies license renewal for lone abortion clinic," 21 June 2019 The current negotiating rights agreement with Melody Square is due to lapse early next month, but both sides could agree to extend it. Mike Nolan, Daily Southtown, "Horses, gambling may push aside plan for big housing development in Tinley Park," 14 June 2019 So rather than risk being publicly shamed, millions of Americans lapse into a sullen silence. John Kass, Twin Cities, "John Kass: Race card loses its sting as it’s overused," 29 July 2019 It was allowed to lapse by her former trademark counsel without her knowing it. Patrick Danner, ExpressNews.com, "Feud heats up over San Antonio lawyer’s advertising slogan," 11 July 2019 This spring, Bitmain’s IPO filing lapsed on the Hong Kong exchange. Mark Dent, WIRED, "The Hard-Luck Texas Town That Bet on Bitcoin—and Lost," 11 July 2019 Universal was the first studio to put the project into development, hiring Oscar-winning screenwriter Diablo Cody to pen the script in 2009; that deal ultimately lapsed. Kristen Baldwin, EW.com, "Sweet Valley High movie update: Jessica Gao takes over as writer," 8 July 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

15 Aug 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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