Legal Definition and Related Resources of Lapse

Meaning of Lapse

The termination or failure of a right or privilege through neglect to exercise it within some limit of time; or through failure of some contingency. The failure of a testamentary gift.

Lapse Alternative Definition

To glide; to pass slowly, silently, or by degrees, to slip; to deviate from the proper path. Webster. See Lapsed Devise; Lapsed Legacy. In Ecclesiastical Law. The transfer, by forfeiture, of a right to present or collate to a vacant benefice from a person vested with such right to another, in consequence of some act of negligence by the former. Ayliffe, Par. 331. Upon six months’ neglect of the patron, the right lapses to the bishop; upon six months’ neglect of bishop, to archbishop; upon his six months’ neglect, to king. The day on which the vacancy occurs is not counted, and the six months are calculated as a half-year. 2 Burn, Ecc. Law 355.

What does Lapse mean?

Termination of insurance for non-payment of premium

Synonyms of Lapse

(Break), noun

  • fuga
  • hiatus
  • interlude
  • interruption
  • lull
  • pause
  • recess
  • Associated Concepts: devise
  • lapsed
  • legacy

(Cease), verb

  • abate
  • become forfeit
  • become void
  • come to an end
  • complete
  • conclude
  • discontinue
  • end
  • expire
  • pass to anotner
  • relinquish
  • reverti
  • run out
  • stop
  • terminateforeign phrases: Accusator post rationabile tempus non est audiendus
  • nisi se bene de omissione excusaverit
  • An accuser ought not to be heard after the lapse of a reasonable time
  • unless he can account satisfactorily for his delay

(Expiration), noun

  • decline
  • default
  • delinquency
  • dereliction
  • error
  • error
  • expiry
  • failure
  • inconstancy
  • lapsus
  • misdeed
  • misstep
  • mistake
  • negligence
  • peccatum
  • recreancy
  • regression
  • relapse
  • rétrogradation
  • retrogression
  • reversion
  • secession
  • shortcoming
  • slip
  • termination Associated Concepts: lapsed bequest
  • lapsed devise
  • lapsed legacy
  • lapsed license
  • lapsed policy

(Fall into error), verb

  • be at fault
  • commit an error
  • deviate from the proper path
  • deviate from virtue
  • do wrong
  • err
  • errare
  • fail
  • fall from grace
  • go astray
  • go awry
  • misbehave
  • misstep
  • peccare
  • slip
  • slip from virtue
  • stray
  • transgress
  • trespass
  • weaken

Related Entries of Lapse in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Lapse in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Lapse in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Lapse in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Lapse in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Immediately, Laches, Malinger, Prescription.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Lapse in the Dictionary Lapse in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Lapse
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Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Lapse in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Lapse is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


Resource Description
Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Lapse (more about URIs)


This term is a noun.

Etimology of Lapse

(You may find lapse at the world legal encyclopedia and the etimology of more terms).

mid-15c., “elapsing of time, expiration;” also “temporary forfeiture of a legal right” due to some failure or non-action by the holder, from Middle French laps “lapse,” from Latin lapsus “a slipping and falling, a landslide; flight (of time); falling into error,” from labi “to glide, slip, slide, sink, fall; decline, go to ruin,” which is of unknown etymology. Meaning “moral transgression, sin” is from c. 1500; that of “slip of the memory” is 1520s; that of “a falling away from one’s faith” is from 1650s.

Meaning of Lapse in the Past

The transfer, by forfeiture, of a right or power to present or collate to a vacant benefice, from, a person vested with such right, to another, as a result of some act of negligence of the former. Ayl. Parerg. 331.[1]


Notes and References

  1. Partialy, this information about lapse is based on the Bouvier´s Law Dictionary, 1848 edition. There is a list of terms of the Bouvier´s Law Dictionary, includ
    ing lapse

See Also


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