collapse

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

Definition of collapse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

noun

Definition of collapse (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : 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 canvas— Rudyard 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 custom— L. 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The system would have expired at the end of the month if Parliament had not been dissolved, prompting Bennett, a former settler leader, to collapse the coalition himself. Patrick Kingsley, BostonGlobe.com, 30 June 2022 European leaders are battling internal political turmoil, and some have seen their popularity dip and governing coalitions collapse amid economic concerns and fallout from the invasion. Eli Stokols, Los Angeles Times, 24 June 2022 Built from the same materials as a plastic rotomolded touring kayak, the Bluefin uses a nesting system to collapse each of its six pieces into a 3.5-foot bag. Chantae Reden, Popular Mechanics, 21 June 2022 That prevented the bill’s passage and prompted Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a former settler leader, to collapse the government and thereby delay a final vote until after another election. New York Times, 20 June 2022 The warmer and more acidic the oceans become, the more that threatens to collapse the food chain. Kc Baker, PEOPLE.com, 8 June 2022 The Russian military has massed some of its best remaining units to collapse the pocket around the several Ukrainian brigades defending the city. Anna Kaplan, Forbes, 28 May 2022 Secrets and their attendant lies collapse under pressure. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 May 2022 There's concern the erosion is so severe that parts of the canyon could collapse. Jonathan Vigliotti, CBS News, 21 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Service was disrupted in March after a deadly construction collapse at the garage sent 110 tons of debris onto the ground above the tunnels for the Orange and Green lines. Laura Crimaldi, BostonGlobe.com, 5 Aug. 2022 Much attention is drawn to those later-stage developments by those foretelling a space bubble collapse. Fortune, 4 Aug. 2022 The division is all but won, barring a collapse of historic proportions. James Yasko, Chron, 3 Aug. 2022 Analysts have long been concerned that a collapse of Evergrande could trigger wider risks for China's property market, hurting homeowners and the broader financial system. Laura He, CNN, 1 Aug. 2022 The British Embassy in Lebanon sent a tweet following the collapse, asking anyone indoors to close their windows and doors. Doha Madani, NBC News, 31 July 2022 Mayor Kathy Sheehan said a structural engineering report states that a collapse of part of the warehouse’s south wall is considered imminent. Fox News, 29 July 2022 California would resort to intentional outages only to stave off a bigger electric-grid collapse. Sammy Rothstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 28 July 2022 Californians have a much higher chance of dying in an avalanche from regular snow pack in winter than in a glacier collapse, said Cuffey. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, 14 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'collapse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of collapse

Verb

1620, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1801, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for collapse

Verb and Noun

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

Learn More About collapse

Time Traveler for collapse

Time Traveler

The first known use of collapse was in 1620

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Dictionary Entries Near collapse

collapsar

collapse

collapse breccia

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Statistics for collapse

Last Updated

8 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Collapse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collapse. Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for collapse

collapse

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

Kids Definition of collapse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to break down completely : fall in He escaped from the mine before it collapsed.
2 : to completely relax I collapsed onto the sofa.
3 : to suffer a physical or mental breakdown She collapsed from exhaustion.
4 : to fail or stop working suddenly The ancient civilization collapsed.
5 : to fold together The umbrella collapses to a small size.

collapse

noun

Kids Definition of collapse (Entry 2 of 2)

: the act or an instance of breaking down The building is in danger of collapse.

collapse

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

Medical Definition of collapse

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

Other Words from collapse

collapsibility \ -​ˌlap-​sə-​ˈbil-​ət-​ē How to pronounce collapse (audio) \ noun
collapsible \ -​ˈlap-​sə-​bəl How to pronounce collapse (audio) \ adjective

collapse

noun

Medical Definition of collapse (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a breakdown in vital energy, strength, or stamina : complete sudden enervation the daughter's mental collapse through mounting frustration— Leslie 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

Nglish: Translation of collapse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of collapse for Arabic Speakers

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