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1. Literally, to break into pieces. Don't stand on that rickety old chair—it's liable to fall apart at any moment.
2. To be approaching failure. Boy, this party is really falling apart. First, there was the issue with the caterer, and now half the guests aren't coming.
3. To become very emotional, especially with sadness or grief. Poor Jane really fell apart during the funeral service. I can't watch those sappy movies because I just fall apart every time.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
fall apart (at the seams)and come apart at the seams
1. . Lit. [for something] to break apart where its parts are joined. The dress fell apart at the seams. I wouldn't have thought that a coat that cost that much money would just come apart at the seams.
2. Fig. to break down mentally. Tom works too much and finally fell apart. Poor Ralph simply fell apart at the seams.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Collapse, break down, either physically or mentally and emotionally. For example, This chair is about to fall apart, or After his wife died, he fell apart. For synonyms for the latter usage, see come apart at the seams; go to pieces.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To disintegrate, collapse, or break into pieces: The rickety chair fell apart when I sat on it.
2. To suffer a nervous breakdown: The political prisoner fell apart after years in solitary confinement.
3. To lose structure or continuity: Our vacation plans fell apart because we couldn't agree on which country to visit.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.