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[kuh-laps] /kəˈlæps/
verb (used without object), collapsed, collapsing.
to fall or cave in; crumble suddenly:
The roof collapsed and buried the crowd.
to be made so that sections or parts can be folded up, as for convenient storage:
This bridge table collapses.
to break down; come to nothing; fail:
Despite all their efforts the peace talks collapsed.
to fall unconscious or as if unconscious or physically depleted, as from a stroke, heart attack, disease, or exhaustion.
  1. to sink into extreme weakness.
  2. (of lungs) to come into an airless state.
verb (used with object), collapsed, collapsing.
to cause to collapse:
He collapsed the table easily.
a falling in or together:
Three miners were trapped by the collapse of the tunnel roof.
a sudden, complete failure; breakdown:
The bribery scandal brought about the complete collapse of his industrial empire.
1725-35; < Latin collāpsus (past participle of collābī to fall, fall in ruins), equivalent to col- col-1 + lāp-, variant stem of lābī to fall + -sus, variant of -tus past participle ending
Related forms
precollapse, verb, precollapsed, precollapsing.
uncollapsed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for collapsed
  • More recently the overextended housing market collapsed, helping to trigger a credit meltdown.
  • The roof of one of the side chapels had collapsed from water damage, destroying sections of the murals.
  • The guest star was a supernova, a star that had run out of fuel and then collapsed in on itself in a thousandth of a second.
  • She rationed her intake of food until, on more than one occasion, she collapsed of weakness.
  • While the rest of the complex collapsed and crumbled, the stately statues remained.
  • The fragility of this natural wonder is apparent: large fragments from recently collapsed cliffs lie at the base of rock faces.
  • The second drama occurred at the show itself, when the photographers' platform collapsed, resulting in pandemonium.
  • He stood there in silence as the second tower collapsed around us.
  • What you see at the beginning of this scene is the doctor-as modern medicine-collapsed into himself.
  • After the sub-prime-mortgage market collapsed, that was precisely what they faced.
British Dictionary definitions for collapsed


(intransitive) to fall down or cave in suddenly: the whole building collapsed
(intransitive) to fail completely: his story collapsed on investigation
(intransitive) to break down or fall down from lack of strength
to fold (furniture, etc) compactly or (of furniture, etc) to be designed to fold compactly
the act or instance of suddenly falling down, caving in, or crumbling
a sudden failure or breakdown
Derived Forms
collapsible, collapsable, adjective
collapsibility, collapsability, noun
Word Origin
C18: from Latin collāpsus, from collābī to fall in ruins, from lābī to fall
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for collapsed



1732, from Latin collapsus, past participle of collabi "fall together," from com- "together" (see com-) + labi "to fall, slip" (see lapse (n.)). The adjective collapsed is attested from c.1600, from Latin collapsus, and perhaps this suggested a verb. Related: Collapsing.


1801, from collapse (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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collapsed in Medicine

collapse col·lapse (kə-lāps')
v. col·lapsed, col·laps·ing, col·laps·es

  1. To break down suddenly in strength or health and thereby fall into a condition of extreme prostration.

  2. To fall together or inward suddenly.

  1. A condition of extreme prostration.

  2. A falling together of the walls of a structure.

  3. The failure of a physical system.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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