LAPSE, n. laps. [L. lapsus, from labor, to slide, to fall.]1. A sliding, gliding or flowing; a smooth course; as the lapse of a stream; the lapse of time.2. A falling or passing.The lapse to indolence is soft and imperceptible, but the return to diligence is difficult.3. A slip an error; a fault; a failing in duty; a slight deviation from truth or rectitude.This Scripture may be usefully applied as a caution to guard against those lapses and fallings to which our infirmities daily expose us.So we say, a lapse in style or propriety.4. In ecclesiastical law, the slip or omission of a patron to present a clerk to a benefice, within six months after it becomes void. In this case, the benefice is said to be lapsed, or in lapse.5. In theology, the fall or apostasy of Adam.
LAPSE, v.i. laps. 1. To glide; to pass slowly, silently or by degrees.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 which we descended.2. To slide or slip in moral conduct; to fail in duty; to deviate from rectitude; to commit a fault.To lapse in fullness is sorer than to lie for need.3. To slip or commit a fault by inadvertency or mistake.Homer, in his characters of Vulcan and Thersites, has lapsed into the burlesque character.4. To fall or pass from one proprietor to another, by the omission or negligence of the patron.If the archbishop shall not fill it up within six months ensuing, it lapses to the king.5. To fall from a state of innocence, or from truth, faith or perfection.Once more I will renew his lapsed powers.