Collapse Col*lapse", v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Collapsed}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Collapsing}] [L. collapsus, p. p. of collabi to collapse; col- + labi to fall, slide. See {Lapse}.] 1. To fall together suddenly, as the sides of a hollow vessel; to close by falling or shrinking together; to have the sides or parts of (a thing) fall in together, or be crushed in together; as, a flue in the boiler of a steam engine sometimes collapses. [1913 Webster]

A balloon collapses when the gas escapes from it. --Maunder. [1913 Webster]

2. To fail suddenly and completely, like something hollow when subject to too much pressure; to undergo a collapse; as, Maximilian's government collapsed soon after the French army left Mexico; many financial projects collapse after attaining some success and importance. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


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  • collapse — [n] downfall, breakdown bankruptcy, basket case*, cataclysm, catastrophe, cave in, conk out*, crackup*, crash, debacle, destruction, disintegration, disorganization, disruption, exhaustion, failure, faint, flop, prostration, ruination, ruining,… …   New thesaurus

  • collapse — [kə laps′] vi. collapsed, collapsing [< L collapsus, pp. of collabi < com , together + labi, to fall: see LAP1] 1. to fall down or fall to pieces, as when supports or sides fail to hold; cave in; shrink together suddenly 2. to break down… …   English World dictionary

  • Collapse — Col*lapse , n. 1. A falling together suddenly, as of the sides of a hollow vessel. [1913 Webster] 2. A sudden and complete failure; an utter failure of any kind; a breakdown. [Colloq.] [1913 Webster] 3. (Med.) Extreme depression or sudden failing …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • collapse — index catastrophe, debacle, decline, defeat, destruction, deteriorate, detriment, disaster, disease …   Law dictionary

  • collapse — (v.) 1732, from L. collapsus, pp. of collabi fall together, from com together (see COM (Cf. com )) + labi to fall, slip (see LAPSE (Cf. lapse)). The adj. collapsed is attested from c.1600, from L. collapsus, and perhaps this suggested a verb. R …   Etymology dictionary

  • collapse — ► VERB 1) suddenly fall down or give way. 2) (of a person) fall down as a result of physical breakdown. 3) fail suddenly and completely. ► NOUN 1) an instance of a structure collapsing. 2) a sudden failure or breakdown. ORIGIN …   English terms dictionary

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