Definition of Lapse

Pronunciation: lăps
n.1.A gliding, slipping, or gradual falling; an unobserved or imperceptible progress or passing away,; - restricted usually to immaterial things, or to figurative uses.
The lapse to indolence is soft and imperceptible.
- Rambler.
Bacon was content to wait the lapse of long centuries for his expected revenue of fame.
- I. Taylor.
2.A slip; an error; a fault; a failing in duty; a slight deviation from truth or rectitude.
To guard against those lapses and failings to which our infirmities daily expose us.
- Rogers.
3.(Law) 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.(Theol.) A fall or apostasy.
v. i.1.To pass slowly and smoothly downward, backward, or away; to slip downward, backward, or away; to glide; - mostly restricted to figurative uses.
[imp. & p. p. Lapsed ; p. pr. & vb. n. Lapsing.]
A tendency to lapse into the barbarity of those northern nations from whom we are descended.
- Swift.
Homer, in his characters of Vulcan and Thersites, has lapsed into the burlesque character.
- Addison.
2.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.
To lapse in fullness
Is sorer than to lie for need.
- Shak.
3.(Law) 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.
If the archbishop shall not fill it up within six months ensuing, it lapses to the king.
- Ayliffe.
v. t.1.To let slip; to permit to devolve on another; to allow to pass.
An appeal may be deserted by the appellant's lapsing the term of law.
- Ayliffe.
2.To surprise in a fault or error; hence, to surprise or catch, as an offender.
For which, if be lapsed in this place,
I shall pay dear.
- Shak.

Related Words

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