follow Dictionary.com

Get the details behind our redesign

collapse

[kuh-laps] /kəˈlæps/
verb (used without object), collapsed, collapsing.
1.
to fall or cave in; crumble suddenly:
The roof collapsed and buried the crowd.
2.
to be made so that sections or parts can be folded up, as for convenient storage:
This bridge table collapses.
3.
to break down; come to nothing; fail:
Despite all their efforts the peace talks collapsed.
4.
to fall unconscious or as if unconscious or physically depleted, as from a stroke, heart attack, disease, or exhaustion.
5.
Pathology.
  1. to sink into extreme weakness.
  2. (of lungs) to come into an airless state.
verb (used with object), collapsed, collapsing.
6.
to cause to collapse:
He collapsed the table easily.
noun
7.
a falling in or together:
Three miners were trapped by the collapse of the tunnel roof.
8.
a sudden, complete failure; breakdown:
The bribery scandal brought about the complete collapse of his industrial empire.
Origin
1725-1735
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
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for collapse
  • It had begun to fall, and where a thicket of brambles obscured the collapse, the cows found a place to cross.
  • If you take government out of the equation, they collapse.
  • The collapse in new-vehicle demand has traumatised parts-makers.
  • Two scientists have linked climate variations to the collapse of societies around the globe.
  • Now the rains turn the roofs to sludge, which causes buildings to collapse.
  • Infested plants show leaf wilt, followed by total collapse.
  • Colony collapse disorder is bad news for anyone who eats.
  • But another attention-raising factor was present, too: the rarity of an academic collapse.
  • Even if he did, printing money to keep repaying the domestic debt might not avoid financial collapse.
  • Some astronomers think that a gravitational or magnetic disturbance causes the nebula to collapse.
British Dictionary definitions for collapse

collapse

/kəˈlæps/
verb
1.
(intransitive) to fall down or cave in suddenly the whole building collapsed
2.
(intransitive) to fail completely his story collapsed on investigation
3.
(intransitive) to break down or fall down from lack of strength
4.
to fold (furniture, etc) compactly or (of furniture, etc) to be designed to fold compactly
noun
5.
the act or instance of suddenly falling down, caving in, or crumbling
6.
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for collapse
collapse
1732, from L. collapsus, pp. of collabi "fall together," from com- "together" + labi "to fall, slip." The pp. collapsed is attested from 1609, from L. collapsus, and this seems to have suggested the verb.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
collapse 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.

n.
  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.
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for collapse

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for collapse

12
16
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with collapse