What does lapse mean?

Definitions for lapse

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word lapse.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. oversight, lapsenoun

    a mistake resulting from inattention

  2. lapsenoun

    a break or intermission in the occurrence of something

    "a lapse of three weeks between letters"

  3. backsliding, lapse, lapsing, relapse, relapsing, reversion, revertingverb

    a failure to maintain a higher state

  4. sink, pass, lapseverb

    pass into a specified state or condition

    "He sank into nirvana"

  5. lapseverb

    end, at least for a long time

    "The correspondence lapsed"

  6. lapse, backslideverb

    drop to a lower level, as in one's morals or standards

  7. relapse, lapse, recidivate, regress, retrogress, fall backverb

    go back to bad behavior

    "Those who recidivate are often minor criminals"

  8. lapseverb

    let slip

    "He lapsed his membership"

  9. elapse, lapse, pass, slip by, glide by, slip away, go by, slide by, go alongverb

    pass by

    "three years elapsed"


  1. lapsenoun

    A temporary failure; a slip.

  2. lapsenoun

    A decline or fall in standards.

  3. lapsenoun

    A pause in continuity.

  4. lapsenoun

    An interval of time between events.

  5. lapsenoun

    A termination of a right etc, through disuse or neglect.

  6. lapsenoun

    (weather) A marked decrease in air temperature with increasing altitude because the ground is warmer than the surrounding air. This condition usually occurs when skies are clear and between 1100 and 1600 hours, local time. Strong convection currents exist during lapse conditions. For chemical operations, the state is defined as unstable. This condition is normally considered the most unfavorable for the release of chemical agents. See lapse rate.

  7. lapsenoun

    A common-law rule that if the person to whom property is willed were to die before the testator, then the gift would be ineffective.

  8. lapseverb

    To fall away gradually; to subside

  9. lapseverb

    To fall into error or heresy

  10. lapseverb

    To slip into a bad habit that one is trying to avoid.

  11. lapseverb

    To become void

  12. Etymology: From laps, from lapsus, from.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. LAPSEnoun

    Etymology: lapsus, Latin.

    Round I saw
    Hill, dale, and shady woods, and sunny plains,
    And liquid lapse of murm’ring streams. John Milton.

    Notions of the mind are preserved in the memory, notwithstanding lapse of time. Matthew Hale, Original of Mankind.

    These are petty errors and minor lapses, not considerably injurious unto truth. Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errours, b. vi. c. 13.

    The weakness of human understanding all will confess; yet the confidence of most practically disowns it; and it is easier to persuade them of it from others lapses than their own. Joseph Glanvill, Scep. c. 9.

    This scripture may be usefully applied as a caution to guard against those lapses and failings, to which our infirmities daily expose us. John Rogers, Sermon.

    It hath been my constant business to examine whether I could find the smallest lapse in stile or propriety through my whole collection, that I might send it abroad as the most finished piece. Jonathan Swift.

    In a presentation to a vacant church, a layman ought to present within four months, and a clergyman within six, otherwise a devolution, or lapse of right, happens. John Ayliffe.

  2. To Lapseverb

    Etymology: from the noun.

    This disposition to shorten our words, by retrenching the vowels, is nothing else but a tendency to lapse into the barbarity of those northern nations from whom we are descended, and whose languages labour all under the same defect. Jonathan Swift, Letter to the Lord Treasurer.

    I have ever narrified my friends,
    Of whom he’s chief, with all the size that verity
    Would without lapsing suffer. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    To lapse in fulness
    Is sorer than to lie for need; and falshood
    Is worse in kings than beggars. William Shakespeare, Cymbeline.

    , in his characters of Vulcan and Thersites, has lapsed into the burlesque character, and departed from that serious air essential to an epick poem. Joseph Addison, Spectator.

    Let there be no willful perversion of another’s meaning; no sudden seizure of a lapsed syllable to play upon it. Isaac Watts.

    Myself stood out;
    For which if I be lapsed in this place,
    I shall pay dear. William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night.

    As an appeal may be deserted by the appellant’s lapsing the term of law, so it may also be deserted by a lapse of the term of a judge. John Ayliffe, Parergon.

    If the archbishop shall not fill it up within six months ensuing, it lapses to the king. John Ayliffe, Parergon.

    Once more I will renew
    His lapsed pow’rs, though forfeit, and inthrall’d
    By sin to foul exorbitant desires. John Milton, Paradise Lost.

    Indeed the charge seems designed as an artifice of diversion, a sprout of that fig-tree which was to hide the nakedness of lapsed Adam. Decay of Piety.

    All publick forms suppose it the most principal, universal, and daily requisite to the lapsing state of human corruption. Decay of Piety.

    These were looked on as lapsed persons, and great severities of penance were prescribed them, as appears by the canons of Ancyra. Edward Stillingfleet, Disc. on Romish Idolatry,.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Lapsenoun

    a gliding, slipping, or gradual falling; an unobserved or imperceptible progress or passing away,; -- restricted usually to immaterial things, or to figurative uses

  2. Lapsenoun

    a slip; an error; a fault; a failing in duty; a slight deviation from truth or rectitude

  3. Lapsenoun

    the termination of a right or privilege through neglect to exercise it within the limited time, or through failure of some contingency; hence, the devolution of a right or privilege

  4. Lapsenoun

    a fall or apostasy

  5. Lapseverb

    to pass slowly and smoothly downward, backward, or away; to slip downward, backward, or away; to glide; -- mostly restricted to figurative uses

  6. Lapseverb

    to slide or slip in moral conduct; to fail in duty; to fall from virtue; to deviate from rectitude; to commit a fault by inadvertence or mistake

  7. Lapseverb

    to fall or pass from one proprietor to another, or from the original destination, by the omission, negligence, or failure of some one, as a patron, a legatee, etc

  8. Lapseverb

    to become ineffectual or void; to fall

  9. Lapseverb

    to let slip; to permit to devolve on another; to allow to pass

  10. Lapseverb

    to surprise in a fault or error; hence, to surprise or catch, as an offender

  11. Etymology: [L. lapsus, fr. labi, p. p. lapsus, to slide, to fall: cf. F. laps. See Sleep.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Lapse

    laps, v.i. to slip or glide: to pass by degrees: to fall from the faith or from virtue: to fail in duty: to pass to another proprietor, &c., by the negligence of a patron, to become void: to lose certain privileges by neglect of the necessary conditions.—n. a slipping or falling: a failing in duty: a fault.—adj. Lap′sable.—The lapsed, the name applied in the early Christian Church to those who, overcome by heathen persecution, fell away from the faith. [L. labi, lapsus, to slip or fall, lapsus, a fall, akin to lap.]

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. lapse

    To fall in, or belong to. This expression was formerly used in the British army to signify the reversion of any military property. Thus, upon the sale or purchase of one commission at the regulated difference, another (where there are two) is said to lapse to government. Commissions lapse, or fall into the patronage of government, when vacancies happen by death, by officers being superseded, or where officers apply to sell who have only purchased a part of their commissions, and have not served long enough to be entitled to sell the whole; in which case they are only permitted to sell what they actually purchased, and the remainder is in the gift of the government.

Anagrams for lapse »

  1. leaps

  2. pales

  3. peals

  4. pleas

  5. salep

  6. sepal

  7. spale

  8. lepas

  9. speal

  10. saple

  11. slape

  12. elaps

How to pronounce lapse?

How to say lapse in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of lapse in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of lapse in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of lapse in a Sentence

  1. Bangladesh Bank:

    We view this as a major lapse.

  2. Aristotle:

    Time crumbles things everything grows old under the power of Time and is forgotten through the lapse of Time.

  3. Asher Lipman:

    It's a little disappointing. I think a lot of people on the ship share this sentiment that this was a lapse in judgment on either Royal Caribbean's part or the captain's part.

  4. Dallas Eakins:

    I don’t care if you’re playing the first-place team or a team that struggles, if you give an inch, or just have one mental lapse, you can turn things the other way quickly. I think it’s a great example and reminder every team in this league is dangerous.

  5. Robert Southey:

    No distance of place or lapse of time can lessen the friendship of those who are throughout persuaded of each other's worth.

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Translations for lapse

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"lapse." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Jun 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/lapse>.

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    the act of examining something closely (as for mistakes)
    • A. scrutiny
    • B. temptation
    • C. fancy
    • D. assortment

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