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.
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.
updated on October 13, 2021
Dictionary entries near collapse