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.

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That's even if the refinery let a previous exemption granted by the Environmental Protection Agency lapse. Jessica Gresko, Star Tribune, 25 June 2021 By letting the exemption lapse, the Fed’s leadership has begun to bring lending tradeoffs back into balance. Milton Ezrati, Forbes, 8 Apr. 2021 Watch the time-lapse video below to see how quickly your pizza can go from refrigerator to steaming hot at the kitchen table in less than 15 minutes. cleveland, 20 Sep. 2021 If there are no events, the snapshot time-lapse feature fills in the gaps of no activity. Paige Szmodis, Popular Mechanics, 31 Aug. 2021 Scott Sanders, who runs Disney Cruise Line Blog, not affiliated with the company, posted videos of its transit in a couple of time-lapse clips. Richard Tribou, orlandosentinel.com, 26 Aug. 2021 Dramatic time-lapse video showed a massive plume growing above thick forest. Fox News, 21 Aug. 2021 Sited on a mountain in Chile, the Rubin Observatory should begin operations in late 2023 to generate a high-definition, decade-spanning time-lapse movie of the entire overhead sky. Lee Billings, Scientific American, 18 Aug. 2021 The time-lapse animation lasts three-and-a-half minutes, guiding space enthusiasts within 645 miles of Ganymede at 41,600 miles per hour. William Harwood, CBS News, 3 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The weather service extended its beach hazards statement into Thursday evening for Cook County but allowed the lakeshore flood advisory to lapse at 10 a.m. chicagotribune.com, 23 Sep. 2021 But many, if not most, have allowed that policy to lapse. Glenn Kramon, Quartz, 6 Aug. 2021 But many if not most have allowed that policy to lapse. ABC News, 5 Aug. 2021 While much blame rests with Republican senators whose commitment to inertia allowed appointments to lapse, some fault rests with the governor's tardiness in making CFB appointments and failure to drive those appointments through the Legislature. Robert Moilanen, Star Tribune, 1 Aug. 2021 With no such agreement in sight, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget on Thursday alerted federal agencies to review their shutdown plans, given funding is scheduled to lapse next week. New York Times, 23 Sep. 2021 Government funding is set to lapse September 30, and a failure by Congress to approve a must-pass funding bill by the end of the month will lead to a partial government shutdown as the country continues battling the coronavirus-pandemic. Melissa Quinn, CBS News, 22 Sep. 2021 Ten days later, some of those same families could face additional financial peril as enhanced unemployment insurance benefits are set to lapse. BostonGlobe.com, 27 Aug. 2021 The officer considered the time lapse between when his cruiser’s emergency lights/flashers began at the fairgrounds and when the car stopped. cleveland, 9 Sep. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About lapse

Dictionary Entries Near lapse

Lapsang souchong

lapse

lap seam

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for lapse

Last Updated

12 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Lapse.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lapse. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for lapse

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.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on lapse

Nglish: Translation of lapse for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lapse for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!