• IPA: /ɹɪˈlæps/, /ˈɹiːˌlæps/

relapse (relapses, present participle relapsing; past and past participle relapsed)

  1. (intransitive) To fall back again; to slide or turn back into a former state or practice.
    He has improved recently but keeps relapsing into states of utter confusion.
    to relapse into a stupor, into vice, or into barbarism
    to relapse into slumber after being disturbed
  2. (intransitive, medicine, of a disease) To recur; to worsen, be aggravated after a period of improvement.
  3. To slip or slide back physically; to turn back.
Translations Translations
  • German: sich verschlimmern, sich verschlechtern
  • Italian: recidivare
  • Portuguese: recair
  • Russian: обостряться
  • Spanish: recaer

relapse (plural relapses)

  1. The act or situation of relapsing.
    a drug relapse
    • 1671, John Milton, “Book the Second”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: Printed by J. M[acock] for John Starkey […], OCLC 228732398 ↗:
      Alas! from what high hope to what relapse / Unlooked for are we fallen!
  2. (medicine) An occasion when a person becomes ill again after a period of improvement
  3. (obsolete) One who has relapsed, or fallen back into error; a backslider.

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