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In some dictionaries, it says we can say "collapse" to mean, "cause something to collapse" (You can see some examples on Oxford's American dictionary.) But the other dictionaries don't mention that. Do you think it is okay to use, "collapse," to mean that? For example, do you think the examples below are correct?

  1. The engineers collapsed the old building using explosives.
  2. A bear collapsed our shack last night.
  3. Hearing the news of his father's death collapsed him.
  4. The earthquake collapsed many buildings yesterday.
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You can collapse a wave function (in physics), or someone's argument (in a debate), a building, a tent, a house of cards, in fact you can pretty much use the verb transitively to mean 'cause something to collapse'. There is no restriction in meaning to do with folding and packing away. The meaning is possible in US and British English.

transitive verb

1: to cause to collapse
buildings collapsed by an earthquake

He knelt for a long time, first watching the bay below, then collapsing the spyglass and settling his hands on his legs in a thoughtful pose. —

Collapse (Merriam-Webster)

1.1 with object
Cause (something) to fall down or give way.

it feels as if the slightest pressure would collapse it

many people tend to collapse the distinction between the two concepts

Or the pressure could collapse the hole altogether.

Collapse (Oxford Dictionaries)

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You can use collapse transitively but none of your examples works unfortunately. If you collapse something you fold it up into a smaller object or space. So you might collapse a tent in order to pack it away or collapse a folding table.

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  • Thanks. You can actualy see examples similar to mine in Oxford dictionary: lexico.com/en/definition/collapse Maybe it is an American English vs British English thing. Dec 27 '20 at 17:16
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    You can collapse a wave function (in physics), or someone's argument (in a debate), a building, a tent, a house of cards, in fact you can pretty much use the verb transitively to mean 'cause something to collapse'. There is no restriction in meaning to do with folding and packing away. Dec 27 '20 at 17:45
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    I don't have a problem with any of OP's examples. Looks like @MichaelHarvey thinks the same. Dec 27 '20 at 18:19
  • @MichaelHarvey how strange. For me collapse as a transitive verb is definitely a subset of cause to collapse.
    – mdewey
    Dec 28 '20 at 16:40
  • @FireandIce no, it is just my idiolect I think as MichaelHarvey and I are both in the same nation.
    – mdewey
    Dec 28 '20 at 16:41

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