Other forms: collapsed; collapsing; collapses

To collapse means to fall over, cave in, or totally crumple. After finding out that the stock market has collapsed and your investments along with it, you'd probably collapse to the ground and sob uncontrollably.

From the Latin collapsus, meaning “fall together," comes our English collapse, a word that functions as both noun and verb. Empires collapse after revolutions, and your dog will eventually collapse from exhaustion if he keeps chasing his tail in circles. But if a company falls apart after the boss retires, or you have a total breakdown cramming for exams, that's a kind of collapse, too.

Definitions of collapse
  1. verb
    break down, literally or metaphorically
    “The wall collapsed
    “The business collapsed
    “The roof collapsed
    synonyms: break, cave in, fall in, founder, give, give way
    abandon, give up
    stop maintaining or insisting on; of ideas or claims
    cause to burst
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    go off, implode
    burst inward
    buckle, crumple
    fold or collapse
    fall loosely
    curl over and fall apart in surf or foam, of waves
    sink, slide down, slump
    fall or sink heavily
    type of:
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
  2. verb
    fall apart
    synonyms: break down, crumble, crumple, tumble
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    type of:
    change integrity
    change in physical make-up
  3. verb
    fold or close up
    collapse the music stand”
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    collapse by releasing contained air or gas
    collapse like a concertina
    type of:
    fold, fold up, turn up
    bend or lay so that one part covers the other
  4. verb
    cause to burst
    synonyms: burst
    break, cave in, fall in, founder, give, give way
    break down, literally or metaphorically
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    cause to burst with a loud, explosive sound
  5. noun
    a natural event caused by something suddenly falling down or caving in
    “the roof is in danger of collapse
    “the collapse of the old star under its own gravity”
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    cave in, subsidence
    the sudden collapse of something into a hollow beneath it
    debacle, fiasco
    a sudden and violent collapse
    a sudden inward collapse
    gravitational collapse
    the implosion of a star resulting from its own gravity; the result is a smaller and denser celestial object
    type of:
    happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent
    an event that happens
  6. verb
    collapse due to fatigue, an illness, or a sudden attack
    synonyms: break down
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    drop like flies
    rapidly collapse, die, or drop out in large numbers
    fall over, go over
    fall forward and down
    type of:
    get, have, suffer, sustain
    undergo (as of injuries and illnesses)
  7. verb
    suffer a nervous breakdown
    synonyms: break up, crack, crack up, crock up
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    type of:
    get, have, suffer, sustain
    undergo (as of injuries and illnesses)
  8. noun
    an abrupt failure of function or complete physical exhaustion
    synonyms: prostration
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    breakdown, crack-up
    a mental or physical breakdown
    (pathology) bodily collapse or near collapse caused by inadequate oxygen delivery to the cells; characterized by reduced cardiac output and rapid heartbeat and circulatory insufficiency and pallor
    heat hyperpyrexia, heatstroke
    collapse caused by exposure to excessive heat
    prostration characterized by cold and clammy skin and low blood pressure
    nervous breakdown
    a severe or incapacitating emotional disorder
    cardiogenic shock
    shock caused by cardiac arrest
    hypovolemic shock
    shock caused by severe blood or fluid loss
    obstructive shock
    shock caused by obstruction of blood flow
    distributive shock
    shock caused by poor distribution of the blood flow
    insulin reaction, insulin shock
    hypoglycemia produced by excessive insulin in the system causing coma
    heat exhaustion, heat prostration
    a condition marked by dizziness and nausea and weakness caused by depletion of body fluids and electrolytes
    insolation, siriasis, sunstroke, thermic fever
    sudden prostration due to exposure to the sun or excessive heat
    type of:
    illness, malady, sickness, unwellness
    impairment of normal physiological function affecting part or all of an organism
  9. verb
    lose significance, effectiveness, or value
    “The school system is collapsing
    “The stock market collapsed
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    type of:
    become weaker
  10. noun
    a sudden large decline of business or the prices of stocks (especially one that causes additional failures)
    synonyms: crash
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    type of:
    happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent
    an event that happens
  11. noun
    the act of throwing yourself down
    synonyms: flop
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    type of:
    the act of changing your location in a downward direction




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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘collapse'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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