lapse: Meaning and Definition of


Pronunciation: (laps), [key]
— n., v., lapsed, laps•ing.
  1. an accidental or temporary decline or deviation from an expected or accepted condition or state; a temporary falling or slipping from a previous standard: a lapse of justice.
  2. a slip or error, often of a trivial sort; failure: a lapse of memory.
  3. an interval or passage of time; elapsed period: a lapse of ten minutes before the program resumed.
  4. a moral fall, as from rectitude or virtue.
  5. a fall or decline to a lower grade, condition, or degree; descent; regression: a lapse into savagery.
  6. the act of falling, slipping, sliding, etc., slowly or by degrees.
  7. a falling into disuse.
  8. discontinuance of coverage resulting from nonpayment of a premium; termination of a policy.
  9. the termination of a right or privilege through neglect to exercise it or through failure of some contingency.
  10. See
  11. a gentle, downward flow, as of water.
  1. to fall or deviate from a previous standard; fail to maintain a normative level: Toward the end of the book the author lapsed into bad prose.
  2. to come to an end; stop: We let our subscription to that magazine lapse.
  3. to fall, slip, or sink; subside: to lapse into silence.
  4. to fall into disuse: The custom lapsed after a period of time.
  5. to deviate or abandon principles, beliefs, etc.: to lapse into heresy.
  6. to fall spiritually, as an apostate: to lapse from grace.
  7. to pass away, as time; elapse.
  8. to become void, as a legacy to someone who dies before the testator.
  9. to cease being in force; terminate: Your insurance policy will lapse after 30 days.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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