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.