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

Second rule of action movies: As that trail of bodies is being laid, don’t interfere with atmospheric cinematography, lengthy lapses between gunshots or interruptions in the timeline. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Movie review: Frank Grillo action yarn 'Into the Ashes' burns slowly and fizzles out early," 15 July 2019 European authorities have been the world’s most aggressive regulators of the tech industry — and a persistent source of friction with Washington — penalizing American companies for anticompetitive behavior, tax avoidance and privacy lapses. New York Times, "U.S. Announces Inquiry of French Digital Tax That May End in Tariffs," 10 July 2019 Big tech companies already are under closer scrutiny than ever by regulators and in Congress following a stream of scandals including Facebook's lapses opening the personal data of millions of users to Trump's 2016 campaign. CBS News, "White House social media summit to snub tech giants, host conservative personalities," 9 July 2019 Many of the Trump-period letters concern opioid sales, or over-the-counter and generic drugs made in China and India, which have rapidly gained market share despite quality lapses documented by FDA and others. Charles Piller, Science | AAAS, "Exclusive: FDA enforcement actions plummet under Trump," 2 July 2019 Facebook is under investigation around the world for privacy lapses. Bill Lambrecht, ExpressNews.com, "2020 campaigns spend heavily on Facebook ads, despite scandals of 2016," 2 July 2019 In addition to the failures with notifications from other states, the Massachusetts RMV also showed a more specific lapse with its handling of commercial driver's licenses. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, "In wake of deadly N.H. biker crash, thousands of out-of-state traffic notices found untouched in bins," 2 July 2019 Repeatedly, safety lapses were identified, and Boeing would agree to fix them, then fail to do so, the FAA said. Michael Laris, Anchorage Daily News, "Long before the 737 Max disasters, Boeing had a history of failing to fix safety problems," 27 June 2019 The potentially preventable death drew a harsh rebuke from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, whose subsequent investigation, made public Monday, uncovered systemic safety lapses at the hospital. Mike Hixenbaugh, NBC News, "No one should die from a blood transfusion. So why did it happen at MD Anderson, the nation's top cancer hospital?," 26 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Stewart also knows that congressional inaction can result in funding that is lapsed or expired — as the Zadroga Act had in 2015, when Stewart again appealed to lawmakers. Bethonie Butler, Washington Post, "Jon Stewart’s ‘Daily Show’ changed how we consume news. His political influence still endures.," 19 June 2019 Policyholders who have seen their premiums raised significantly are faced with three unpleasant options: pay more, allow their policies to lapse or accept less coverage. Elliot Raphaelson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Long-term care insurance: Proceed with caution," 24 Apr. 2018 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

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

18 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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