col·​li·​sion kə-ˈli-zhən How to pronounce collision (audio)
: an act or instance of colliding : clash
: an encounter between particles (such as atoms or molecules) resulting in exchange or transformation of energy
kə-ˈlizh-nəl How to pronounce collision (audio)
collisionally adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for collision

impact, collision, shock, concussion mean a forceful, even violent contact between two or more things.

impact may be used to imply contact between two things, at least one of which is impelled toward the other.

the glass shattered on impact with the floor

collision implies the coming together of two or more things with such force that both or all are damaged or their progress is severely impeded.

the collision damaged the vehicle

shock often denotes the effect produced by a collision and carries the suggestion of something that strikes or hits with force.

the shock of falling rocks

concussion when not in technical use, often suggests the shattering, disrupting, or weakening effects of a collision, explosion, or blow.

bystanders felt the concussion of the blast

Example Sentences

The car was destroyed in the collision. the collision of two opposing philosophies regarding the rearing of children
Recent Examples on the Web Road conditions were dry, the sky was clear and there were no skid marks or signs of a collision with another vehicle or animal, the sheriff’s office said. Nick Anderson, Washington Post, 3 Feb. 2023 However, Sergeant Connell tells PEOPLE that the cause of the collision is still under investigation. Alexis Jones, Peoplemag, 26 Jan. 2023 The idea of asteroids approaching Earth can stir anxiety over fears of collision with the planet and the disaster that could follow. Robert Higgs, cleveland, 26 Jan. 2023 Law-enforcement authorities say Ruggs’ Corvette was traveling at 156 mph 2.5 seconds before impact and 127 mph at the time of a collision. Mark Inabinett |, al, 26 Jan. 2023 The driver of the Tundra, identified as a man in his 30s, was evaluated at the scene and was not impaired at the time of the collision, according to the statement. Kye Graves, The Arizona Republic, 25 Jan. 2023 Any witnesses or people with a vehicle equipped with a dash camera that was in the area of the collision are asked to contact Trooper Daniel Hill at 860-896-3200 ext. Staff Report, Hartford Courant, 23 Jan. 2023 Anchorage Police Department officers and Anchorage Fire Department medics responded around 1:30 p.m. to reports of a collision, police said. Anchorage Daily News, 23 Jan. 2023 The driver fled the scene of the collision, Culver said. Caleb Lunetta, San Diego Union-Tribune, 18 Jan. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English, from Latin collision-, collisio, from collidere

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of collision was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near collision

Cite this Entry

“Collision.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


col·​li·​sion kə-ˈlizh-ən How to pronounce collision (audio)
: an act or instance of colliding

More from Merriam-Webster on collision

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