Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To fall down or inward suddenly; cave in.
  • intransitive verb To break down suddenly in strength or health and thereby cease to function.
  • intransitive verb To fold compactly.
  • intransitive verb To cause to fold, break down, or fall down or inward.
  • noun The act of falling down or inward, as from loss of supports.
  • noun An abrupt failure of function, strength, or health; a breakdown.
  • noun An abrupt loss of perceived value or of effect.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To fall together, or into an irregular mass or flattened form, through loss of firm connection or rigidity and support of the parts or loss of the contents, as a building through the falling in of its sides, or an inflated bladder from escape of the air contained in it.
  • Figuratively— To break down; go to pieces; come to nothing; fail; become ruined: as, the project collapsed.
  • In pathology, to sink into extreme weakness or physical depression in the course of a disease.
  • To appear as if collapsing; lose strength, courage, etc.; subside; cease to assert one's self or push one's self forward: as, after that rebuke he collapsed.
  • noun A falling in or together, as of the sides of a hollow vessel.
  • noun Figuratively, a sudden and complete failure of any kind; a breakdown.
  • noun In medicine, an extreme sinking or depression; a more or less sudden failure of the vital powers: as, the stage of collapse in cholera.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb 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.
  • intransitive verb To fail suddenly and completely, like something hollow when subject to too much pressure; to undergo a collapse.
  • noun A falling together suddenly, as of the sides of a hollow vessel.
  • noun colloq. A sudden and complete failure; an utter failure of any kind; a breakdown.
  • noun (Med.) Extreme depression or sudden failing of all the vital powers, as the result of disease, injury, or nervous disturbance.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb intransitive To fall down suddenly; to cave in
  • verb intransitive To cease to function due to a sudden breakdown
  • verb intransitive To fold compactly
  • verb cricket For several batsmen to get out in quick succession
  • verb transitive To cause something to collapse.
  • verb intransitive To pass out and fall to the floor or ground, as from exhaustion or other illness; to faint
  • noun The act of collapsing
  • noun Constant function, one-valued function (in automata theory) (in particular application causing a reset)

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb collapse due to fatigue, an illness, or a sudden attack
  • verb fall apart
  • verb break down, literally or metaphorically
  • verb suffer a nervous breakdown
  • noun a sudden large decline of business or the prices of stocks (especially one that causes additional failures)
  • verb cause to burst
  • noun an abrupt failure of function or complete physical exhaustion
  • verb fold or close up
  • noun a natural event caused by something suddenly falling down or caving in
  • verb lose significance, effectiveness, or value
  • noun the act of throwing yourself down

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin collābī, collāps-, to fall together : com-, com- + lābī, to fall.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin collapsus (past participle of collabi)

Examples

  • I like how Orlov claims that the Soviet collapse is exactly equal to the American collapse*.

    Former USA

  • The prolonged tension of mind and effort during four years of overwrought activity was followed by a period of reaction, to which, as far as the administration of the navy was concerned, the term collapse would scarcely be misapplied.

    From Sail to Steam, Recollections of Naval Life

  • Good piece about the reasoning behind the title collapse!

    CaughtOffside.com

  • However the probability of triggering (committingto) a collapse is about 25% in 2100 and 75% by 2200.

    Liveblogging the EGU – day 4 | Serendipity

  • However the probability of triggering (committingto) a collapse is about 25% in 2100 and 75% by 2200.

    2009 April 23 | Serendipity

  • However the probability of triggering (committingto) a collapse is about 25% in 2100 and 75% by 2200.

    2009 April | Serendipity

  • He said the financial troubles of some older people were compounded by what he termed the collapse of health services.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • "This is an extremely serious problem now, which I call the collapse of constitutionalism," he says.

    NPR Topics: News

  • "This is an extremely serious problem now, which I call the collapse of constitutionalism," he says.

    NPR Topics: News

  • "This is an extremely serious problem now, which I call the collapse of constitutionalism," he says.

    NPR Topics: News

Comments

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  • Here is how a man once talked with his house.

    'Please, if you're ever about to collapse,

    let me know.' One night without a word the

    house fell. 'What happened to our agreement?'

    The house answered, 'Day and night I've been

    telling you with cracks and broken boards and

    holes appearing like mouths opening. But you

    kept patching and filling those with mud, so

    proud of your stopgap masonry. You didn't

    listen.'

    - Rumi, 'Ghazal 1134', version by Coleman Barks with Nevit Ergin in 'The Glance'.

    October 17, 2008

  • collapse has a special meaning in ecology and envronmental fields where it refers to a sudden decline in the population of a species. "The collapse of the native bird population followed the accidental introduction of snakes onto the island."

    June 21, 2009

  • See effort comments.

    March 25, 2012