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relapse Line breaks: re|lapse
Pronunciation: /rɪˈlaps/

Definition of relapse in English:


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1(Of a sick or injured person) deteriorate after a period of improvement: two of the patients in remission relapsed after 48 months
More example sentences
  • One patient relapsed upon discontinuation of clarithromycin therapy but has since responded to re-initiation of treatment.
  • Thirteen patients relapsed after positive response to therapy and developed tumors at pre-existing or new sites within the body.
  • All patients were cured ultimately and no patients relapsed during six months of follow up.
get ill/worse again, have/suffer a relapse, worsen, deteriorate, degenerate, take a turn for the worse, sicken, weaken, fail, sink
1.1 (relapse into) Return to (a less active or a worse state): he relapsed into silence
More example sentences
  • The main goal of this intervention is to keep him motivated and to avoid a relapse into a less active lifestyle.
  • Let it be hoped that we can refrain from relapsing into the bad old habits once the dreaded epidemic is over, so a new Shanghai with a new outlook will emerge in the long run.
  • But after three decades of lull, it has started relapsing into anarchy and violence.
revert, lapse;
regress, retrogress, backslide, fall back, go backwards, slip back, slide back, drift back, degenerate


Pronunciation: /ˈriːlaps/
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A deterioration in someone’s state of health after a temporary improvement: he responded well to treatment, but then suffered a relapse
More example sentences
  • However, once treatment was stopped, there were no differences in the rates of relapses and new brain lesions between the two groups.
  • In salmonella infections relapses of enteritis or bacteraemia are common.
  • Many of these patients also experienced a relapse of their psychotic illness after the pregnancy.
deterioration, worsening of someone's condition, turn for the worse, setback, weakening;


Example sentences
  • Number of relapses increased the likelihood of subsequent relapses, but there were no characteristic differences between one-time relapsers and multiple relapsers.
  • A systematic review of 19 randomised trials and 3765 patients found that 33% of naive patients and 49% of relapsers achieved a sustained virological response on combination therapy.
  • The best treatments are less clear for non-responders and relapsers.


Late Middle English: from Latin relaps- 'slipped back', from the verb relabi, from re- 'back' + labi 'to slip'. Early senses referred to a return to heresy or wrongdoing.

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