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  Dictionary Definition of lapse

1. a slip or slight error: a lapse of memory.
2. a failure or miscarriage through some fault, slip, or negligence: a lapse of justice.
3. a gliding or passing away, as of time.
4. the act of falling, slipping, sliding, etc., slowly or as by degrees.
5. Law the termination of a right or privilege through neglect to exercise it or through failure of some contingency.
6. a falling, or sinking to a lower grade, condition, or degree: a lapse into savagery.
7. a moral fall, as from rectitude.
8. a falling into disuse.
-- verb (i) ( lapsed, lapsing )
9. to pass slowly, silently, or by degrees.
10. Law a. (of a right) to lose effect through passage of time. b. to become void, as a legacy to one who predeceases the testator.
11. (of insurance) to cease to be in force.
12. to fall or sink to a lower grade or condition.
13. to fall into disuse.
14. to fall, slip, or glide, especially downwards.
15. to deviate from principles, accuracy, etc.; make a slip or error.
16. to pass away, as time.
[late ME, from L lapsus, noun, a fall, slip]
-- lapser, noun