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v. -lapsed, -laps•ing,
See Also: DISINTEGRATION
- Caved in like a sinkhole —Jonathan Valin
- Caving in like a mud dam —Kurt Rheinheimer
- (Periods in one’s life that once seem important until you look back on them) collapsed as flat as packing cartons —Jonathan Penner
In a short story entited Emotion Recollected in Tranquility, the author tied collapsed packing carton comparison to the collapse of part of one’s life.
- Collapsed like an elephant pierced by a bullet in some vital spot —Kingsley Amis
- Collapsed like a rotten tree —Erich Maria Remarque
- Collapsed like a rump-shot dog —T. Coraghessan Boyle
- (Half a dozen career daydreams) collapsed like a telescope —Thomas McGuane
- Collapsed like a wounded soldier in the mud —Z. Vance Wilson
- Collapsed to the floor like a tent that has had all the guy ropes and poles removed at the same time —Jimmy Sangster
- Collapsed upon the sea as if his body had telescoped into itself, like a picnic beaker —Joyce Cary
- (His body) collapsed vertically like a punctured concertina —Frank Ross
An older, simpler variation by Irving Cobb: “Fold up like a concertina.”
- (One day would) collapse like a peony —Jilly Cooper
- Collapse like a sack of meal —Anon
The sack of meal as a comparison linked to falling, collapsing or toppling has seeded so much use and extension that one can only list some of its in-print appearances: “Went over like a sack of meal” (Frank O’Connor); “Fall heavily, like a sack of meal” (S. J. Perelman); “Went down … like an empty sack” (John M. Synge); “Dropped, like a flour sack falling from a loft” (Gerald Kersh). Most commonly overheard in everyday conversation is “Collapse like an empty paper bag.”
- Collapse like a snowman in the sun —Anon
- Collapse like a tent when the pole is kicked out from under it —Loren D. Estleman
- Collapse … like empty garments —Joyce Cary Collapse like sandcastles against the ocean tide —Anon
- Collapse like a punctured blister —Mike Sommer
- Collapse like the cheeks of a starved man —Charles Dickens
- Collapsing like a cardboard carton thrown on a bonfire —Margaret Atwood
- Comes apart [no longer able to control laughter] like a slow-ripping seam —Sharon Sheehe Stark
- Crashed on the leather sofa, going down like a B-52 with a bellyful of shrapnel —Jonathan Kellerman
- [Souvenirs of a romance] crumble like flowers pressed in dictionaries —Judith Martin
- Crumble like tinder —Anon
- (A small white house that was) crumbling at the corners like stale cake left out on a plate —Jonathan Valin
- Crumbling like one of those dry sponge cakes —Francis King
- Crumpled like caterpillars on mulberry leaves —James Purdy
- (She) crumpled like paper crushed in a fist and began to cry —Harold Adams
- Crumpled up as if he were a paper flower —Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
- Crumples like a used-up piece of paper —Daphne Merkin
- [Gulls] downed … like a tumbled kite —John Hall Wheelock
- (The bird) dropped like an arrow —Leo Tolstoy
- Dropped like an elephant’s trunk —Eudora Welty
- Dropped like one hit in the head by a stone from a sling —Eudora Welty
- Drops like a piece of flotsam —T. Coraghessan Boyle
- Falling as gently and slowly as a kite —Elizabeth Hardwick
- Fall over like a frozen board —William H. Gass
- Fall to the floor like misfired cannon balls —John Updike
- (She’s welcome to climb with man if she wishes … and) fall with a crash like a trayful of dishes —Amy Lowell
- Fell as low as a toad —American colloquialism, attributed to Midwest
- (Accents of peace and pity) fell like dew (upon my heart) —Percy Bysshe Shelley
- Fell … like insects knocked off by a gardener’s spray —Derek Lambert
- Fell like one who is seized with sleep —Dante Alighieri
- Fell slowly forward like a toppling wall —Stephen Crane
- Fell to her knees like a nun seeking sudden forgiveness —James Crumley
- Flopped like the ears of a dog —Edgar Allan Poe
- Folded up like a pocket camera —George Ade
- Fold up like a cheap camera —Anon
- [First baseman] goes down slow as a toppling tree —W. P. Kinsella
- Going under [dying] like shipwrecked sailors —Thomas Keneally
- (Let life face him with a new demand on his understanding and then watch him) go soggy, like a wet meringue —D. H. Lawrence
- He dropped like a bullock, he lay like a block —Rudyard Kipling
- (When I tell him he must go, he suddenly) hits the floor like a toppled statue —Louise Erdrich
- Hit the floor like an anvil —Joseph Wambaugh
- (Slumped to the floor and) lay there like a punctured balloon —Myron Brinig
Some variations on the balloon comparison: “I was going down … like a child’s balloon as it gradually lets out air” (Eugene Ionesco’s play, The Stroller in the Air); “Ripples to the pavement like a deflated balloon” from T. Coraghessan Boyle’s novel, Water Music, Little.
- Like an emptying tube, after a couple of minutes he collapses —Erich Maria Remarque
- Over she went … like a little puff of milkweed —Eudora Welty
- Pitched forward like a felled tree —Oakley Hall
- (His heaving bulk suddenly) sagged, like a sail bereft of wind —Jan Kubicki
- [Old man] scrunched like an old gray fetus —Grace Paley
- Thudded like a bird against the glass wall —Ross Macdonald
- Topple over like a doll with a round base —Wilfrid Sheed
- Tumble down like a house of cards —George Du Maurier
The many twists on tumbling, falling or collapsing cards as comparisons include Robert Browning’s “Fell like piled-up cards” and Edith Wharton’s “Collapsed like a playing card.”
- Tumbled down like the Tower of Babel —Bernard Malamud
- Tumbling dumb as a ninepin —Sharon Sheehe Stark
- We fell to the carpet like leaves circling in a light wind —James Crumley
- Went down like a ninepin —Edith Wharton
This still popular simile to describe a sudden fall was probably in use before its appearance in Wharton’s story, The Pelican.
- Went down like a plumb line —Lawrence Durrell
- Went down like a pole-axed steer —Donald Seaman
- Went over [after being hit] like a paper cut-out and lay just as flat as one —Cornell Woolrich
Past participle: collapsed
|Noun||1.||collapse - an abrupt failure of function or complete physical exhaustion; "the commander's prostration demoralized his men"|
illness, sickness, unwellness, malady - impairment of normal physiological function affecting part or all of an organism
shock - (pathology) bodily collapse or near collapse caused by inadequate oxygen delivery to the cells; characterized by reduced cardiac output and rapid heartbeat and circulatory insufficiency and pallor; "loss of blood is an important cause of shock"
algidity - prostration characterized by cold and clammy skin and low blood pressure
|2.||collapse - a natural event caused by something suddenly falling down or caving in; "the roof is in danger of collapse"; "the collapse of the old star under its own gravity"|
implosion - a sudden inward collapse; "the implosion of a light bulb"
|3.||collapse - the act of throwing yourself down; "he landed on the bed with a great flop"|
descent - the act of changing your location in a downward direction
|4.||collapse - a sudden large decline of business or the prices of stocks (especially one that causes additional failures)|
|Verb||1.||collapse - break down, literally or metaphorically; "The wall collapsed"; "The business collapsed"; "The dam broke"; "The roof collapsed"; "The wall gave in"; "The roof finally gave under the weight of the ice"|
change - undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature; "She changed completely as she grew older"; "The weather changed last night"
abandon, give up - stop maintaining or insisting on; of ideas or claims; "He abandoned the thought of asking for her hand in marriage"; "Both sides have to give up some claims in these negotiations"
flop - fall loosely; "He flopped into a chair"
break - curl over and fall apart in surf or foam, of waves; "The surf broke"
|2.||collapse - collapse due to fatigue, an illness, or a sudden attack|
drop like flies - rapidly collapse, die, or drop out in large numbers; "the contestants dropped like flies when the thermometer hit one hundred degrees"
|3.||collapse - fold or close up; "fold up your umbrella"; "collapse the music stand"|
fold, fold up, turn up - bend or lay so that one part covers the other; "fold up the newspaper"; "turn up your collar"
deflate - collapse by releasing contained air or gas; "deflate a balloon"
concertina - collapse like a concertina
|4.||collapse - fall apart; "the building crumbled after the explosion"; "Negotiations broke down"|
change integrity - change in physical make-up
|5.||collapse - cause to burst; "The ice broke the pipe"|
pop - cause to burst with a loud, explosive sound; "The child popped the balloon"
|6.||collapse - suffer a nervous breakdown|
|7.||collapse - lose significance, effectiveness, or value; "The school system is collapsing"; "The stock market collapsed"|
weaken - become weaker; "The prisoner's resistance weakened after seven days"
the bridge collapsed during the storm → el puente se vino abajo durante la tormenta
the deal collapsed → el negocio fracasó
the company collapsed → la compañía quebró or se hundió