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

The gathering of location data, and the lapses in the system protecting it, have raised concerns about privacy as more people carry phones that can easily relay such information. New York Times, "Verizon, AT&T and Sprint to Limit Sales of Cellphone Location Data," 19 June 2018 Asked Wednesday if President Trump is comfortable with the alleged ethics lapses swirling around Pruitt, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was unexpectedly frank. Evan Halper, latimes.com, "Once a Trump favorite, can Scott Pruitt save his job?," 5 Apr. 2018 As part of its press release last week, the FDA also acknowledged the lapses in regulation right now. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "So, About the FDA Finding Asbestos in Claire's Makeup: Here's What the Government Is Doing About It," 12 Mar. 2019 The agency acknowledged the lapse in a statement to CNN. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Passenger Accidentally Brought Firearm on Flight, TSA Confirms," 14 Jan. 2019 Beyond the obvious lapses in ITC dog care, there has been increasing pressure from inside and outside the event to slow the overall speed of the race. John Schandelmeier, Anchorage Daily News, "For the sake of the dogs, is it time to slow down the Iditarod?," 26 Feb. 2018 The devastation left in the volcano's wake is palpable in the time-lapse imagery released by officials at the European Space Agency (ESA) on June 8. Doris Elin Salazar, Space.com, "See Lava Flows from Hawaii's Kilauea Change Paths in New Satellite Photos," 12 June 2018 Officials with The Woodlands Storm Drainage Task Force have released time-lapse videos that show how Hurricane Harvey affected homes along Spring Creek and Panther Branch in south Montgomery County. Michelle Iracheta, Houston Chronicle, "Time-lapse videos show how Harvey flooded parts of The Woodlands," 19 May 2018 What Darnell discovered in the time-lapse video (captured by a camera placed on the bedroom ceiling) surprised even her. Madeleine Marr, miamiherald, "Why moms are so tired: Video captures one woman's brutal night sleeping with her kids | Miami Herald," 11 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Their agreement lapsed in 2004, and DiCaprio acquired it thereafter. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese are Creating a Devil in the White City Series for Hulu," 14 Feb. 2019 Inside the White House, officials privately say a deal could be at least a week away, raising the possibility this may be the longest-ever lapse in federal spending. Rebecca Ballhaus, WSJ, "White House Signals Flexibility on Concrete Border Wall," 6 Jan. 2019 In 2021 the curbs on warhead numbers and the protocols for exchanging information provided by the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) of 2011 will lapse unless it is extended. The Economist, "Old deals to limit nuclear weapons are fraying. They may not be repaired," 5 May 2018 These journal entries are sometimes incidental to a fault, lapsing at one point into marginalia about Ms. Morris’s bowel habits. Danny Heitman, WSJ, "‘In My Mind’s Eye’ Review: Marching Through the Days," 4 Jan. 2019 Trieu said the president lapsed into a deep coma hours after being admitted to the National Military Hospital 108 on Thursday afternoon. Fox News, "Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang dies of illness at 61," 21 Sep. 2018 Economists think events like the funding lapse have sharp but temporary effects on... A Wsj Staff Reporter, WSJ, "Economy Week Ahead: U.S. Consumer Confidence, GDP and More," 24 Feb. 2019 Time lapse video shows thick plumes of smoke, billowing since June 1. Omar Villafranca, CBS News, "Colorado wildfires: Crews battling dry conditions, winds up to 30 mph," 14 June 2018 The Violence Against Women Act has lapsed as part of the government shutdown. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Should You Attend the Women's March?," 16 Jan. 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

9 May 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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