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collapse (v.)

1732, "fall together, fall into an irregular mass through loss of support or rigidity," from Latin collapsus, past participle of collabi "fall together," from assimilated form of com "with, together" (see com-) + labi "to fall, slip" (see lapse (n.)).

Figurative sense of "come to nothing, fail" is from 1801. Transitive sense "cause to collapse" is from 1883. The adjective collapsed is attested from c. 1600, originally of groups of persons, "fallen from a spiritual or religious state," perhaps from co- + lapsed. Related: Collapsing.

Origin and meaning of collapse

collapse (n.)

1792, "a falling in or together" (originally of the lungs), from collapse (v.). From 1801, in a mental sense; meaning "physical prostration" is from 1808; in reference to institutions, etc., "sudden or complete failure," by 1856.

Origin and meaning of collapse

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Definitions of collapse from WordNet
1
collapse (v.)
break down, literally or metaphorically;
The roof collapsed
The wall collapsed
The business collapsed
Synonyms: fall in / cave in / give / give way / break / founder
collapse (v.)
collapse due to fatigue, an illness, or a sudden attack;
Synonyms: break down
collapse (v.)
fold or close up;
collapse the music stand
collapse (v.)
fall apart;
Synonyms: crumble / crumple / tumble / break down
collapse (v.)
cause to burst;
Synonyms: burst
collapse (v.)
suffer a nervous breakdown;
Synonyms: crack up / crack / crock up / break up
collapse (v.)
lose significance, effectiveness, or value;
The stock market collapsed
2
collapse (n.)
an abrupt failure of function or complete physical exhaustion;
Synonyms: prostration
collapse (n.)
a natural event caused by something suddenly falling down or caving in;
the collapse of the old star under its own gravity
the roof is in danger of collapse
collapse (n.)
the act of throwing yourself down;
Synonyms: flop
collapse (n.)
a sudden large decline of business or the prices of stocks (especially one that causes additional failures);
Synonyms: crash
From wordnet.princeton.edu