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lapse

[laps] /læps/
noun
1.
an accidental or temporary decline or deviation from an expected or accepted condition or state; a temporary falling or slipping from a previous standard:
a lapse of justice.
2.
a slip or error, often of a trivial sort; failure:
a lapse of memory.
3.
an interval or passage of time; elapsed period:
a lapse of ten minutes before the program resumed.
4.
a moral fall, as from rectitude or virtue.
5.
a fall or decline to a lower grade, condition, or degree; descent; regression:
a lapse into savagery.
6.
the act of falling, slipping, sliding, etc., slowly or by degrees.
7.
a falling into disuse.
8.
Insurance. discontinuance of coverage resulting from nonpayment of a premium; termination of a policy.
9.
Law. the termination of a right or privilege through neglect to exercise it or through failure of some contingency.
10.
Meteorology, lapse rate.
11.
Archaic. a gentle, downward flow, as of water.
verb (used without object), lapsed, lapsing.
12.
to fall or deviate from a previous standard; fail to maintain a normative level:
Toward the end of the book the author lapsed into bad prose.
13.
to come to an end; stop:
We let our subscription to that magazine lapse.
14.
to fall, slip, or sink; subside:
to lapse into silence.
15.
to fall into disuse:
The custom lapsed after a period of time.
16.
to deviate or abandon principles, beliefs, etc.:
to lapse into heresy.
17.
to fall spiritually, as an apostate:
to lapse from grace.
18.
to pass away, as time; elapse.
19.
Law. to become void, as a legacy to someone who dies before the testator.
20.
to cease being in force; terminate:
Your insurance policy will lapse after 30 days.
Origin
1520-1530
1520-30; < Latin lāpsus an error, slipping, failing, equivalent to lāb(ī) to slide, slip, fall, make a mistake + -sus, for -tus suffix of v. action
Related forms
lapser, noun
unlapsing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for lapses
  • He never inclines to the theory that all knowledge arises out of sensation, and yet he never lapses into mysticism.
  • So he lapses into a dream, the undying wonderful dream of his life.
  • The reasons for memory lapses are usually much less dire than suspected.
  • There have been several high-profile government cyber security lapses in the past few years.
  • We hear from many people who are frustrated by lapses in feedback from hiring committees.
  • Still, those lapses in memory tell me that it's time to start thinking about retiring.
  • Past good behavior is no guarantee against future lapses of professional decorum.
  • One pound down this week, a miracle, considering my lapses.
  • Such lapses, unpleasantly well known, are tolerable.
  • It is his habit to locate all the lapses and betrayals of the modern world.
British Dictionary definitions for lapses

lapse

/læps/
noun
1.
a drop in standard of an isolated or temporary nature a lapse of justice
2.
a break in occurrence, usage, etc a lapse of five weeks between letters
3.
a gradual decline or a drop to a lower degree, condition, or state a lapse from high office
4.
a moral fall
5.
(law) the termination of some right, interest, or privilege, as by neglecting to exercise it or through failure of some contingency
6.
(insurance) the termination of coverage following a failure to pay the premiums
verb (intransitive)
7.
to drop in standard or fail to maintain a norm
8.
to decline gradually or fall in status, condition, etc
9.
to be discontinued, esp through negligence or other failure
10.
(usually foll by into) to drift or slide (into a condition) to lapse into sleep
11.
(often foll by from) to turn away (from beliefs or norms)
12.
(law) (of a devise or bequest) to become void, as on the beneficiary's predeceasing the testator
13.
(of time) to slip away
Derived Forms
lapsable, lapsible, adjective
lapsed, adjective
lapser, noun
Word Origin
C15: from Latin lāpsus error, from lābī to glide
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 lapses
lapse
1520s, "slip of the memory," from M.Fr. laps "lapse," from L. lapsus "a slipping and falling, flight (of time), falling into error," from labi "to slip, glide, fall." Meaning "a moral slip" is from 1580s; that of "a falling away from one's faith" is from 1650s. Legal sense of "termination of a right or privilege" first recorded 1560s. The verb is first attested 1640s. Related: Lapsed; lapses.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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