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 secondary had multiple lapses in coverage, allowing Cardinals receivers to run free down the field. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Instant analysis: Behind Lamar Jackson’s 120 rushing yards, 2 TD passes, Ravens hold off Cardinals, 23-17," 15 Sep. 2019 Teams like Southampton and Crystal Palace have shown in recent weeks that what’s required to get the better of United, is to be incredibly tough to breakdown and look to take advantage of United’s inevitable lapses in concentration. SI.com, "​Leicester City Are Easy on the Eye But They're Not Quite Ready to Break Into the Top 6 - Yet," 14 Sep. 2019 Matches can be grueling, so lapses in focus can manifest as momentum-swinging mistakes. Chris Brodeur, courant.com, "UConn Gaming Club bringing esports revolution to Storrs, the Big East and beyond," 12 Sep. 2019 Aside from penalties and momentary lapses in judgment, Seminole’s defense played particularly well in the second half for the area’s No. 2-ranked team. J.c. Carnahan, orlandosentinel.com, "High School Football Rewind: Timmy McClain emerges for Seminole, Jeff Rolson wins Apopka debut," 31 Aug. 2019 They should not be put in the position of having to defend fundamentally indefensible lapses in government policy. The Economist, "Hong Kong’s protest movement will not back down empty-handed," 23 Aug. 2019 In the two years since the killing, Sequel failed to fix lapses in security, city leaders said. Ashley Remkus | Aremkus@al.com, al, "In wake of killing and escapes, Madison revokes Three Springs business license," 14 Aug. 2019 In 2018, reporting from ProPublica's local newsroom program exposed lapses in worker safety at nuclear facilities, failures in public housing and the devastating toll of post-traumatic stress disorder on first responders. Shaun Mckinnon, azcentral, "Republic wins ProPublica grant-supported project to investigate Arizona tribal education," 7 June 2019 Memory lapses happen to younger people as well as older people. BostonGlobe.com, "Anti-ageism activists bristle at Julián Castro’s question to Joe Biden: ‘Are you forgetting what you said 2 minutes ago?’ - The Boston Globe," 14 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Circuit Judge Michael Stelzer granted Planned Parenthood's request for a preliminary injunction, which extends his temporary restraining order prohibiting Missouri from allowing the St. Louis clinic's license to lapse. Fox News, "Missouri's only abortion clinic can remain open for now, judge rules," 10 June 2019 Key restrictions on Iran’s nuclear and missile programs and access to heavy weaponry begin to lapse in 2020,... Mark Dubowitz, WSJ, "Build an Iranian Sanctions Wall," 2 Apr. 2019 Emergency rule had been extended each month until last week, when Sirisena allowed the law to lapse. Washington Post, "Sri Lankan Islamic clerics seek clarity on face veil ban," 27 Aug. 2019 Owners Fenway Sports Group will allow that to lapse before submitting application for a more ambitious project which will far surpass their original vision for the stadium. SI.com, "Liverpool Announce Significant Change in Plans for Development of Anfield," 22 Aug. 2019 The clash of policies led UC to allow its Elsevier subscriptions to lapse as of last Dec. 31. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "In act of brinkmanship, a big publisher cuts off UC’s access to its academic journals," 11 July 2019 Adams County has a six-month moratorium on new oil and gas drilling applications, imposed in March, that will be allowed to lapse later this month. John Aguilar, The Denver Post, "Adams County tightens oil and gas rules, first to do so since Colorado Senate Bill 181 passed," 3 Sep. 2019 Call my bluff With Macau’s economy so dependent upon casinos, letting the licenses lapse for the sake of the trade war seems like a nuclear option—even in a conflict that’s increasingly self-defeating. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "How China’s Casino Enclave of Macau Could Become a Bargaining Chip in the U.S. Trade War," 31 Aug. 2019 Even many of the onetime diehards (ahem) let their devotion lapse when their CDs scratched and their iPods fritzed. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Why Tool Could Be More Relevant Today Than Ever Before," 21 Aug. 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

10 Oct 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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