AskDefine | Define relapse

Dictionary Definition

relapse n : a failure to maintain a higher state [syn: backsliding, lapse, lapsing, relapsing, reversion, reverting]


1 deteriorate in health; "he relapsed" [syn: get worse] [ant: get well]
2 go back to bad behavior; "Those who recidivate are often minor criminals" [syn: lapse, recidivate, regress, retrogress, fall back]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. To fall back again.
    He has improved recently but keeps relapsing into states of utter confusion.
  2. In the context of "intransitive|medicine|of a disease": To recur; to worsen, be aggravated.


To fall back again
(medicine) To recur; to worsen

Extensive Definition

For the record label, see Relapse Records.
A relapse (etymologically, "who falls again") occurs when a person is affected again by a condition that affected them in the past. This could be a medical or psychological condition such as depression, bipolar disorder, multiple sclerosis, cancer or an addiction to a drug.
For example, if someone who had problems with alcohol were to give up alcohol and then later start drinking again, this drinking might be considered a relapse. It is different from a slip or lapse in that it implies a return to previous behaviour patterns, as opposed to a one-time occurrence.
It may also, in medicine, mean the end of a remission.
relapse in German: Rückfall
relapse in Spanish: Recaída
relapse in Polish: Nawrót choroby

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

about-face, apostasy, backing, backset, backslide, backsliding, backward motion, backward step, cock, decline, degenerate, degeneration, deteriorate, deterioration, disenchantment, disimprove, fade, fading, fail, failing, failure, fall, fall again into, fall astern, fall back, fall behind, fall from grace, falling back, flip-flop, get back, get behind, get worse, go back, go backwards, go behind, grow worse, have a relapse, jerk back, lapse, lapse back, lapsing, let down, lose ground, pull back, reaction, recede, recession, recidivate, recidivation, recidivism, reclamation, reconversion, recur to, reentry, refluence, reflux, regress, regressing, regression, rehabilitation, reinstatement, restitution, restoration, retreat, retroaction, retrocede, retrocession, retroflex, retroflexion, retrogradation, retrograde, retrogress, retrogression, retroversion, retrovert, retrusion, return, return to, returning, reversal, reverse, reversion, revert, revert to, reverting, revulsion, rollback, setback, sicken, sink, sink back, sinking, slacken, slide back, slip back, slipping back, sternway, throwback, turn, turnabout, weaken, weakening, worsen, worsening, yield again to
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