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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  • To be no longer valid or active; expire: She allowed her membership to lapse after the first year.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)

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.

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."