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 Securing a global agreement in October took years of negotiations that often seemed close to collapse, but so far there has been little progress on changing national laws to implement the tax. Paul Hannon, WSJ, 17 June 2022 The result is a pavlova that will collapse in the middle or weep (separate). Robin Miller, The Arizona Republic, 17 June 2022 But few believe that this war is anywhere near a conclusion, or that either side is close to collapse, even as the economies of both Russia and Ukraine continue to suffer. New York Times, 13 June 2022 The most obvious is the folding mechanism, which allows the bar to accommodate wider kayaks, and can collapse completely flat when not in use. Talon Homer, Popular Mechanics, 20 May 2022 McDonald’s was the first American fast food restaurant to open in the Soviet Union, which would collapse in 1991. Time, 16 May 2022 The team found that governments had routinely underestimated their catch and that fisheries everywhere are close to collapse. Richard Schiffman, Scientific American, 23 Sep. 2021 Half of its hospitals and health centers have been damaged by bombing, and the health system was close to collapse even before the pandemic. Bassem Mroue, ajc, 22 Sep. 2021 The Afghan banking system is largely paralyzed, with people unable to withdraw money, while the country's health system — which was heavily dependent on foreign aid — is close to collapse, according to Borrell. NBC News, 3 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Markedly, the increase in expenses was primarily due to the collapse of Greensill Capital and the Archegos Capital crisis. Trefis Team, Forbes, 17 June 2022 Price falls have also both been caused by and contributed to the collapse of some crypto projects. Reuters, NBC News, 13 June 2022 This lawsuit is unrelated to the recent collapse of the Terra ecosystem. Sam Reynolds, Fortune, 9 June 2022 With the bombshell revelation of Nixon’s White House tape recording system, a battle begins for the tapes that will eventually lead to the collapse of the Nixon presidency. Rodney Ho, ajc, 6 June 2022 Last week, analytics firm Nansen pointed to lending firm Celsius as one of a handful of users that contributed to the collapse of the luna and terraUSD cryptocurrencies. Paul Vigna, WSJ, 4 June 2022 The Beavers responded to the collapse by scoring a run in the top of the 10th, when Boyd smacked a run-scoring single up the middle. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, 29 May 2022 Tropin said that some additional lawsuits connected to the collapse have been mediated through the main settlement, resulting in additional payouts. Jared Kofsky, ABC News, 24 May 2022 It’s the kind of approach that might have avoided trillions of dollars in losses over the course of centuries, up to the recent collapse of Terra, an algorithmic stable coin. Amanda Shendruk, Quartz, 20 May 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

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near collapse

collapsar

collapse

collapse breccia

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for collapse

Last Updated

20 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Collapse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/collapse. Accessed 27 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!