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Definition of "lapse" []

  • To fall from a previous level or standard, as of accomplishment, quality, or conduct: lapse into bad habits; a team that lapsed into mediocrity halfway through the season. (verb-intransitive)
  • To deviate from a prescribed or accepted way: lapse into heresy. (verb-intransitive)
  • To pass gradually or smoothly; slip: lapse into reverie. (verb-intransitive)
  • To come to an end, especially gradually or temporarily: He realized that his attention had lapsed and he hadn't heard the assignment. (verb-intransitive)
  • To be no longer valid or active; expire: She allowed her membership to lapse after the first year. (verb-intransitive)
  • A drop in standard of an isolated or temporary nature (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

  • A break in occurrence, usage, etc (noun)
  • A gradual decline or a drop to a lower degree, condition, or state (noun)
  • A moral fall (noun)
  • The termination of some right, interest, or privilege, as by neglecting to exercise it or through failure of some contingency (noun)
  • The termination of coverage following a failure to pay the premiums (noun)
  • To drop in standard or fail to maintain a norm (verb)
  • To decline gradually or fall in status, condition, etc (verb)
  • To be discontinued, esp through negligence or other failure (verb)
  • To drift or slide (into a condition) (verb)
  • To turn away (from beliefs or norms) (verb)
  • (of a devise or bequest) to become void, as on the beneficiary's predeceasing the testator (verb)
  • (of time) to slip away (verb)

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Use "lapse" in a sentence
  • "The mayor is apologizing, saying he's deeply sorry for what he calls a lapse of judgment."
  • "Zimbabwe protested to the British government over what it called a lapse in security when President Robert Mugabe was mobbed by gay activists during a visit to London, British officials said"
  • "You know you let your title lapse and now you're trying to evade the law."