A relapse is a decline, especially of someone's health. If your grandmother survived cancer only to have it return two years later, you could say she suffered a relapse.

Relapse implies that someone has recovered from an illness and slid back into a worse state, like when you are getting over a cold but then you suddenly feel bad all over again. Unwanted behavior can also be described this way; if you find yourself biting your nails again, it's a nail-biting relapse. The Latin word relabi is the root of relapse, slip back.

Definitions of relapse
  1. verb
    deteriorate in health
    “he relapsed
    synonyms: get worse
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    bounce back, get over, get well
    improve in health
    type of:
    change state, turn
    undergo a transformation or a change of position or action
  2. verb
    go back to bad behavior
    synonyms: fall back, lapse, recidivate, regress, retrogress
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    type of:
    regress, retrovert, return, revert, turn back
    go back to a previous state
  3. noun
    a failure to maintain a higher state
    synonyms: backsliding, lapse, lapsing, relapsing, reversion, reverting
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    habitual relapse into crime
    type of:
    an act that fails
Word Family