collapse

1 of 2

verb

col·​lapse kə-ˈlaps How to pronounce collapse (audio)
collapsed; collapsing

intransitive verb

1
: to fall or shrink together abruptly and completely : fall into a jumbled or flattened mass through the force of external pressure
a blood vessel that collapsed
2
: to break down completely : disintegrate
… his case had collapsed in a mass of legal wreckage …Erle Stanley Gardner
3
: to cave or fall in or give way
The bridge collapsed.
4
: to suddenly lose force, significance, effectiveness, or worth
fears that the currency may collapse
5
: to break down in vital energy, stamina, or self-control through exhaustion or disease
She came home from work and collapsed on the sofa.
especially : to fall helpless or unconscious
He collapsed on stage during the performance.
6
: to fold down into a more compact shape
a chair that collapses
a collapsing golf club that can fit into a travel bag

transitive verb

1
: to cause to collapse
buildings collapsed by an earthquake
He knelt for a long time, first watching the bay below, then collapsing the spyglass and settling his hands on his legs in a thoughtful pose.Heather Dunboine
2
: condense
collapse several stories into one

collapse

2 of 2

noun

1
a
: a breakdown in vital energy, strength, or stamina
suffered a mental collapse
b
: a state of extreme prostration and physical depression (as from circulatory failure or great loss of body fluids)
c
: an airless state of all or part of a lung originating spontaneously or induced surgically
2
: the act or action of collapsing
the cutting of many tent ropes, the collapse of the canvasRudyard Kipling
3
: a sudden failure : breakdown, ruin
the collapse of the government
4
: a sudden loss of force, value, or effect
the collapse of respect for ancient law and customL. S. B. Leakey

Examples of collapse in a Sentence

Verb The roof collapsed under a heavy load of snow. The chair he was sitting in collapsed. He collapsed on stage during the performance and had to be rushed to the hospital. She came home from work and collapsed on the sofa. The crying child ran to his mother and collapsed in her arms. The civilization collapsed for reasons that are still unknown. He warned that such measures could cause the economy to collapse. Noun The structure is in danger of collapse. She was on the verge of collapse. The country has endured civil war and economic collapse.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
In Riverside, tree branches were blown down, and a fireworks tent collapsed. Robert A. Cronkleton, Kansas City Star, 3 July 2024 After talks collapsed, Newsom and Democratic leaders came up with the plan to draft their own alternative measure. Laurel Rosenhall, Los Angeles Times, 3 July 2024
Noun
Two, in the longer term, these newcomers might be the only thing that stands between your counties and economic decline and population collapse. New York Daily News Editorial Board, New York Daily News, 5 July 2024 Restoring America’s Economy: A Washington Examiner symposium Biden’s post-debate collapse Free speech and Biden’s debacle For your radar The president will travel to Madison, Wisconsin, for a campaign event at 1:15 Central time. Max Thornberry, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 5 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for collapse 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'collapse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb and Noun

Latin collapsus, past participle of collabi, from com- + labi to fall, slide — more at sleep

First Known Use

Verb

1620, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of collapse was in 1620

Dictionary Entries Near collapse

Cite this Entry

“Collapse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collapse. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

collapse

1 of 2 verb
col·​lapse kə-ˈlaps How to pronounce collapse (audio)
collapsed; collapsing
1
: to fall or shrink together abruptly
a blood vessel that collapsed
2
: to break down completely
the opponent's resistance collapsed
3
: to cave or fall in or give way
the tunnel collapsed
4
: to suddenly lose value or effectiveness
the country's currency collapsed
5
: to break down physically or mentally because of exhaustion or disease
6
: to fold together
a chair that collapses
collapsible adjective

collapse

2 of 2 noun
: the act or an instance of collapsing : breakdown

Medical Definition

collapse

1 of 2 verb
col·​lapse kə-ˈlaps How to pronounce collapse (audio)
collapsed; collapsing

intransitive verb

1
: to fall or shrink together abruptly and completely : fall into a jumbled or flattened mass through the force of external pressure
a blood vessel that collapsed
2
: to break down in vital energy, stamina, or self-control through exhaustion or disease
especially : to fall helpless or unconscious

transitive verb

: to cause to collapse
collapsing an infected lung
collapsibility noun
collapsible adjective

collapse

2 of 2 noun
1
: a breakdown in vital energy, strength, or stamina : complete sudden enervation
the daughter's mental collapse through mounting frustrationLeslie Rees
2
: a state of extreme prostration and physical depression resulting from circulatory failure, great loss of body fluids, or heart disease and occurring terminally in diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever, and pneumonia
3
: an airless state of a lung of spontaneous origin or induced surgically see atelectasis
4
: an abnormal falling together of the walls of an organ
collapse of blood vessels

More from Merriam-Webster on collapse

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