Definition of fall in English:

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Pronunciation: /fôl/

verb (past fell /fel/; past participle fallen /ˈfôlən/)

[no object]
1Move downward, typically rapidly and freely without control, from a higher to a lower level: bombs could be seen falling from the planes (as adjective falling) the power lines had been brought down by falling trees
More example sentences
  • I watched her open up the paper, let the rest of the tobacco fall onto the ground, and then ball up the little bit of paper and flick it.
  • He brought his hands down, and she let the bow fall abruptly, surprised at his sudden movement.
  • His hand glowed and the gigantic sword fell to the ground, leaving a small indention where it had fallen.
drop, descend, come down, go down;
plummet, plunge, sink, dive, tumble;
1.1 (fall off) Become detached accidentally and drop to the ground: my sunglasses fell off and broke on the pavement
More example sentences
  • I opened my left front door panel yesterday and I accidentally pull the door handle and the wire hook just fell off suddenly.
  • One or more keys fell off the laptop keyboard and you are not sure how to put them back?
1.2Hang down: hair that was allowed to fall to the shoulders
More example sentences
  • His braided hair fell down over his shoulders, his eyes were jet black, and he liked to wear a piece of purple silk tied around his hair.
  • His long golden hair falls down over his shoulders, and you notice two pointed ears poking out from the golden locks.
1.3(Of land) slope downward; drop away: the land fell away in a steep bank
More example sentences
  • The ground fell away from the river somewhat at first, and then rose and fell again before it went up in one slope toward the Wolfing dwellings.
  • Where the ground fell away right at the end of the garden, we have made a lower level with some steps leading down to a small paved patio.
slope down, slope, slant down, go down, drop, drop away, descend, dip, sink, plunge
1.4 (fall into) (Of a river) flow or discharge itself into.
Example sentences
  • The Meuse of France falls into the Rhine.
  • The noble river Severn takes its rise from the Ellennith mountains and falls into the sea a few miles from Gloucester.
1.5(Of someone’s eyes or glance) be directed downward.
Example sentences
  • His gaze fell to my lips as if he wanted to kiss me.
  • Her eyes fell to the floor, searching for the largest, sharpest piece of the broken glass.
1.6(Of someone’s face) show dismay or disappointment by appearing to sag or droop: her face fell as she thought about her life with George
More example sentences
  • Una's face fell slightly in disappointment and she looked at me.
  • I was sure my face fell, reflecting my disappointment because Sister Martina patted me gently on the shoulder.
  • Julie's face fell and tears trailed down her cheeks like two little streams.
1.7Occur, arrive, or become apparent as if by dropping suddenly: when night fell we managed to crawl back to our lines the information might fall into the wrong hands
More example sentences
  • Three Beanie Baby birthdays have fallen in the last eight days and by tonight when I was being asked to suggest presents for a lobster I confess I was feeling unhelpful.
  • Night had fallen again upon the world, letting the world below fall into a gentle slumber.
  • As night began to fall, he arrived at a village and all the hotels were full for the night.
occur, take place, happen, come about;
literary come to pass
come, arrive, appear, arise, materialize
2(Of a person) lose one’s balance and collapse: she fell down at school today
More example sentences
  • I did not fall or lose my balance or anything else embarrassing, but I was annoyed.
  • We'd clasped hands and spun around, but I'd fallen off balance and crashed into the table.
  • Thrown off balance, the boy fell with a splash, just as the bullet whizzed past his head.
topple over, tumble over, keel over, fall down/over, go head over heels, go headlong, collapse, take a spill, pitch forward;
trip, stumble, slip
informal come a cropper
2.1Throw oneself down, typically in order to worship or implore someone: they fell on their knees, rendering thanks to God
More example sentences
  • Cheska's fathers' eyes widened as he dropped to his knees, falling onto the ground face first.
  • She knew that if she wasn't already sitting on her short stool, she'd probably have fallen to the ground from weak knees.
  • I swear, if I hadn't been holding on to him I probably would have fallen to the ground due to weak knees.
2.2(Of a tree, building, or other structure) collapse to the ground: the house looked as if it were going to fall down at any moment
More example sentences
  • Struggling among the vines, Kearney reflected that they could report that a lot of trees had fallen down and the ground was full of large holes.
  • The entire structure began falling inwards, collapsing in on itself like a cloth being folded.
  • Dixie watched in shock as a tall pine tree fell slowly toward her plastic kennel, which was shaped like an igloo.
collapse, cave in, crash in, fall down;
give way, crumble, disintegrate
2.3(Of a building or place) be captured or defeated: their mountain strongholds fell to enemy attack
More example sentences
  • When the town fell to the epidemic of vampirism that swept the world, it must have fallen quickly.
  • Despite the efforts of Washington's regulars and the massed militia, New York and its strategic harbor fell to the enemy in September 1776. ...
  • Damar becomes even more angry, when he learns that Septimus III has fallen to the enemy, even though Weyoun had promised to "deal" with the situation.
surrender to, yield to, submit to, give in to, capitulate to, succumb to;
be taken by, be defeated by, be conquered by, be overwhelmed by
2.4Die in battle: an English leader who had fallen at the hands of the Danes
More example sentences
  • On this Memorial Day as we honor those who have fallen in battle in service of their country let us pray to whatever higher force in which we believe or hope that the dying stops.
  • That uniform is stained with the noble blood of those who've fallen in battle for their country.
  • The General was said to be battered and bruised, but was not one of the unfortunate 420000 who fell during the battle.
die, perish, lose one's life, be killed, be slain, be lost, meet one's death
informal bite the dust, croak, buy it, buy the farm
2.5 archaic Commit sin; yield to temptation: it is their husband’s fault if wives do fall
2.6(Of a government or leader) lose office.
Example sentences
  • Napoleon III fell from power and in 1870, Hugo witnessed the siege of Paris.
  • Where were you on the day Margaret Thatcher fell from power?
  • Ties had been strained after the Khmer Rouge fell from power in 1979, but warmed again in the mid-1990s.
2.7(In sports) lose or be eliminated from play.
Example sentences
  • The team fell in 2 games, to finish 3rd in the country. This is a huge leap for a program that finished 21st in Division II in 2003.
  • The '92s had a tough first day as the team fell in both of its contests.
3Decrease in number, amount, intensity, or quality: in 1987 imports into Britain fell by 12 percent we’re worried that standards are falling
More example sentences
  • If the Footsie fell by the same amount it would have gone below 3,000.
  • Within the whole sample, depression scores fell by a similar amount in both groups at two and four months.
  • Unemployment reached the highest levels since the 1930s. Wages fell by the greatest amount in a century.
decrease, decline, diminish, fall off, drop off, lessen, dwindle;
plummet, plunge, slump, sink;
depreciate, cheapen, devalue
informal go through the floor, nosedive, take a header, crash
3.1Find a lower level; subside or abate: the water table in the Rift Valley fell
More example sentences
  • In summer, the water fell to barely a foot or two in some sections, though there were always areas where it was considerably deeper.
  • The water level fell to its lowest point since 1950, and only 10 kilometers of the river sightseeing cruise from Guilin to Yangshuo was open in February.
subside, recede, ebb, flow back, fall away, go down, sink
3.2(Of a measuring instrument) show a lower reading: the barometer had fallen a further ten points
More example sentences
  • Easton awoke early this morning to find the thermometer had fallen 30 during the night, and was but 2 above a zero.
  • The Tourism Barometer's recent low point of 87.1 in November 2001 was matched only in March 1993 when the barometer fell to 87.0.
4Pass into a specified state: many of the buildings fell into disrepair she fell pregnant
More example sentences
  • I immediately fell into Damin, though, because my legs had fallen asleep.
  • With food and water in her stomach, Calida let the urge to fall asleep take over and she fell into a dreamless, peaceful sleep.
  • At long last the day ended, and I fell into bed hoping to fall asleep quickly and refrain from thinking about the ball again.
become, grow, get, turn
doze off, drop off, go to sleep
informal nod off, go off, drift off, crash, conk out, go out like a light, sack out
4.1 (fall to doing something) Begin to do something: he fell to musing about how it had happened
More example sentences
  • And the sons of Israel fell to doing what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah.
  • When her mistress left her, she fell to doing her work slowly again, and sometimes she paused to listen to the talk in the bathhouse behind her.
4.2Be drawn accidentally into: you must not fall into this common error
More example sentences
  • After graduation I fell accidentally into a job which enabled me to pursue a professional qualification.
  • Some of us were born to be spies. Not me though, I sort of fell into it by chance.
  • Meanwhile, I fell into teaching, probably because life has a way of guiding you into service to your fellow humans.
4.3Occur at a specified time: Mother’s birthday fell on Flag Day
More example sentences
  • Predictably, the Swiss, whose 66th birthday fell last Sunday, is telling anyone who will listen that he is the victim of a conspiracy.
  • This time we're dedicating the first three concerts to Wilfrid Mellers, whose 90th birthday falls this year.
4.4Be classified or ordered in the way specified: canals fall within the Minister’s brief
More example sentences
  • I am only biased against that which is unfunny, though I suppose that my own approach falls under the banner of indie or alternative comedy, two things I am not sure even exist.
  • Wald has also spoken of the need for bases to help protect oil reserves in Africa (which falls under the purview of the EUCOM).
  • Prosecuting illegal aliens for entering the country falls under the jurisdiction, of course, of the U.S. federal government.


1 [usually in singular] An act of falling or collapsing; a sudden uncontrollable descent: his mother had a fall, hurting her leg as she alighted from a train
More example sentences
  • TWO jockeys were hurt in falls and a spectator collapsed in a toilet during a North Yorkshire horse race.
  • Mrs Tempest was conscious after the initial fall but later collapsed and was airlifted to Nairobi General Hospital.
  • Runs up the ramp may be frantic attempts to escape, but end in falls, collapses and rolling back down.
tumble, trip, spill, topple, slip;
informal nosedive, header, cropper
1.1A controlled act of falling, especially as a stunt or in martial arts.
Example sentences
  • They tend to be fight sequences, stair falls, motorbike stunts, very high falls and those involving pyrotechnics.
  • Capoeira blends dance and combat movement and falls under the rubric of martial arts.
  • If the balance was not good you would fall and since the exercises were always vigorous, a fall could seriously hurt you.
1.2 Wrestling A move which pins the opponent’s shoulders on the ground for a count of three.
Example sentences
  • He then did a springboard senton but Hart went to count the fall but Kash pulled him out of the ring.
  • Monty Brown pinned Sabu in 8: 35 in an Extreme rules match, which meant falls count anywhere.
  • A fall from the ring counts as two knockdowns, with three knockdowns resulting in a loss just like a knockout.
1.3A state of hanging or drooping downward: the fall of her hair
More example sentences
  • White hair hang in a straight fall from my head to mid-back.
  • The folds of the drapery, the fall of the curtains, had been arranged and rearranged, by Adolph and Rosa, with that nicety of eye which characterizes their race.
1.4A downward difference in height between parts of a surface: at the corner of the massif this fall is interrupted by other heights of considerable stature
descent, declivity, slope, slant, incline, downgrade
1.5A sudden onset or arrival as if by dropping: the fall of darkness
More example sentences
  • If they are able, they may slow down time itself and forestall the fall of night. If not, there is always another chance; the fall of night will bring dreams that enlighten future journeys.
  • With the fall of darkness, it shuts down its solar collectors.
2A thing that falls or has fallen: in October came the first thin fall of snow a rock fall
More example sentences
  • Management decided it was unsafe for miners to continue working as the coalface was hit by falls of rock and debris from the roof, and flooding.
  • Councillors branded it ‘diabolical’ blaming KCC for being too slow in dealing with the heavy falls of snow of January 8.
  • We awoke this morning, after promises all weekend of disruptive falls of snow, to a tiny white dusting, a little more fell soon after but for now that seems to be it.
2.1 (usually falls) A waterfall or cascade.
Example sentences
  • There were other falls, other cascades and exciting spurts of white water in the canyon, and also quiet stretches so clear that each stone lay as if painted on the creek bed.
  • The steps are crowned with statues and, again, fountains, which make them a combination of sprouting water and cascading falls.
  • With water cascading down from a height of 4,500 ft. and splitting into five smaller falls, the Kempty waterfalls offers a panoramic view.
waterfall, cascade, cataract;
rapids, white water
2.2chiefly literary A downward turn in a melody: that strain again, it had a dying fall
More example sentences
  • When notation did appear in the 9th century, it indicated the rise and fall of the melodies without exact specification of pitches.
  • After a few builds and falls, the scherzo gives way to a gorgeous, lush melody of a kind normally associated with Rachmaninoff.
  • The men begin singing Shalom Aleichem, swaying with the rise and fall of the melody.
2.3 (falls) The parts or petals of a flower that bend downward, especially the outer perianth segments of an iris.
Example sentences
  • Originally most bearded irises had droopy falls (the petals that hang down).
  • ‘George’ has plum-purple petals and darker purple falls, with tiny markings of yellow and white.
  • Blue-white standards with black falls and a yellow sunburst pattern circling the red beards will surely dazzle any iris lover.
3A decrease in size, number, rate, or level; a decline: a big fall in unemployment
More example sentences
  • The fall in prices would be greater than the fall not only in their wage rates but also in the overall average of wage rates.
  • The dollar suffered its biggest fall against the Yen for more than a year.
  • The central bank attributed the steady plunge of the gross national savings rate to a rapid fall of savings in the household sector.
decline, falloff, drop, decrease, cut, dip, reduction, downswing;
plummet, plunge, slump
informal nosedive, crash
4A loss of office: the fall of the government
More example sentences
  • Argentina's swift defeat hastened the fall of the military dictatorship and the restoration of democracy.
  • The battle between Enigorio and Enigonhahetgea reminds one of the fall of Satan in Christian lore.
  • He compared the fall of the Soviet Union to the rise of new media.
downfall, collapse, ruin, ruination, failure, decline, deterioration, degeneration;
destruction, overthrow, demise
surrender, capitulation, yielding, submission;
4.1The loss of a city or fortified place during battle: the fall of Jerusalem
More example sentences
  • Davis states that when Hood took command, the fall of the city was inevitable.
  • This destruction, and the weeks leading up to the fall of that great city, is the subject of Ross Leckie's new novel, the last in a trilogy about the Punic Wars.
  • It is unfortunate and painful to see the fall of a dream city that earned a steadfast place in the international arena.
4.2A person’s moral descent, typically through succumbing to temptation.
Example sentences
  • His dramatic exit resolved the paradoxes of his life and arguably saved him a very public decline and fall.
  • But Melon subjects the ladies to a graphic account of his decline and fall.
  • The decline and fall of a mere meritocrat in a world of privilege is the theme of this novel.
4.3 (the Fall or the Fall of Man) The lapse of humankind into a state of sin, ascribed in traditional Jewish and Christian theology to the disobedience of Adam and Eve as described in Genesis.
Example sentences
  • The author's claim that the biblical creation story associates woman with ‘inborn evil’ relies upon a Christian interpretation of the Fall of Man story in Genesis, which ascribes the dogma of Original Sin to Eve's eating the apple.
  • The poet, invoking the ‘Heav'nly Muse ’, states his theme, the Fall of Man through disobedience, and his aim, which is no less than to ‘justifie the wayes of God to men’.
  • And instead of original sin leading to the Fall of Man, we fear the degradation of Nature by an apparently malevolent human species.
sin, wrongdoing, transgression, error, offense, lapse, fall from grace, original sin
5 (also Fall) North American Autumn.
Example sentences
  • In the fall, autumn leaves will bring a change of color to the coastline.
  • Mating season commonly takes place during the fall and winter seasons, but can occur at any time throughout the year.
  • In addition, I'd like to wish everyone a great fall and winter season, and may the weather be good to us.



fall foul (or afoul) of

Come into conflict with and be undermined by: any commitment of resources is likely to fall foul of government cash limitations
More example sentences
  • Opponents claim such a move would be a gross violation of civil liberties which is likely in Scotland to fall foul of European human rights legislation.
  • I figured I was in a small minority of people who fell afoul of the polygraph.
  • The 57-year-old fell foul of the law when he claimed income support, council tax and housing benefit after becoming the town crier

fall in (or into) line

Conform with others or with accepted behavior.
With reference to military formation
Example sentences
  • Even his language on posters fell into line with the exhortative tone on Soviet posters when they urged, ‘Let us all fulfill the plan of the great projects.’
  • In spite of record construction levels, there was still no sign that the Irish market would fall victim to oversupply, but price inflation would tail off sharply when supply and demand finally fell into line, he added.
  • Since she fell into line with Howard on the issue of asylum seekers, many in the Left have deserted the party in its hour of need.

fall into place

(Of a series of events or facts) begin to make sense or cohere: once he knew what to look for, the theory fell quickly into place
More example sentences
  • The programme of events is falling into place.
  • Sometimes, when things are falling around me, I don't have the patience to sense they might be falling into place.
  • We look forward to watching the way the development progresses from here as the pieces in this massive and complex jigsaw begin to fall into place.

fall on stony ground

see stony.

fall over oneself to do something

informal Be excessively eager to do something: critics and audiences fell over themselves to compliment him
More example sentences
  • Music critics fell over themselves to praise ‘The Message,’ treating it as the poetry of the streets - as the elite media has characterized hip-hop ever since.
  • His indictment of the tabloid press seemed vindicated when its TV critics began falling over themselves to say how brilliant the broadcast had been.
  • Critics have been falling over themselves to heap praise on the musician after she brought fans to their feet with stirring performances.

fall prey to

see prey.

fall short (of)

(Of a missile) fail to reach its target.
Example sentences
  • An Iraqi surface-to-surface missile that was being fired at our troops fell short of its target.
  • Some shells fell short of their targets and others broke into pieces in the air.
  • It fell short of the intended target and bounced harmlessly off the table in front of me.
figurative7.1 Be deficient or inadequate; fail to reach a required goal: the total vote fell short of the required two-thirds majority
More example sentences
  • A proposal to extend extra temporary benefits to jobless Americans fell short by one vote in the Senate Tuesday.
  • The vote on whether to vote fell short by 6 votes even though it won 54 to 46.
  • It was clear that in the key marginals the Labour vote was falling short of what the national polls were saying.
be deficient, be inadequate, be insufficient, be wanting, be lacking, disappoint
informal not come up to scratch, not come up to snuff

fall to pieces


fall victim to

see victim.

take the fall

North American informal Receive blame or punishment, typically in the place of another person.
Example sentences
  • If someone backed me up in a lie and then took the fall for me when it was exposed, I'd have confidence in him too.
  • European governments continue to allow employers the privilege of using cheap foreign labor while making asylum seekers take the fall for clandestine migration.
  • It relieves the truly guilty parties of the need to decide who among them must take the fall.

Phrasal verbs


fall apart (or to pieces)

Break up, come apart, or disintegrate: their marriage is likely to fall apart
More example sentences
  • Last time around, many expressways just fell apart, disintegrated after a few months.
  • I lost a burger down the gap in the grill - the burgers weren't the best quality and fell apart very easily.
  • Monkfish is the heavyweight contender of the fish world, so strong it can easily be reheated a couple of times without falling apart.
decline, deteriorate, degenerate, go downhill, go to rack and ruin;
decay, wither, fade, fail
informal go to the dogs, go to pot, go down the toilet
1.1(Of a person) lose one’s capacity to cope: Angie fell to pieces because she had lost everything
More example sentences
  • It is when we cannot manage life, when the level of stress outweighs mechanisms for coping with stress, that we fall apart.
  • It wasn't just her eating disorder, she began to fall apart in other ways, which at first we thought were typical early teenage behavior.
  • Though outwardly they maintained a facade of happiness, inwardly they began to fall apart.

fall back

Move or turn back; retreat.
Example sentences
  • Even a Mercedes falls back to a respectful distance when I rudely pull out in front of it.
  • She gave the order to retreat, and everyone started falling back to the forest.
  • As the troops fell back, looters on bicycles braved the continuing shellfire.
retreat, withdraw, back off, draw back, pull back, pull away, move away

fall back on

Have recourse to when in difficulty: they normally fell back on one of three arguments
More example sentences
  • If challenged, however, your only recourse is to fall back on the manufacturer's guarantee.
  • It is no longer in existence, so responsibility for the site falls back on to the landowner.
  • His teaching degree and a year he spent working as a teacher in Dublin was always going to be something he could fall back on.
resort to, turn to, look to, call on, have recourse to;
rely on, depend on, lean on

fall behind

Fail to keep up with one’s competitors.
Example sentences
  • If they failed to do so, they risked falling behind their competitors and losing their jobs.
  • Britain fell behind its major competitors on this measure over a century ago and has steadily slid down the R & D investment charts ever since.
  • One theme is Britain's growing awareness of falling behind its competitors, particularly in education, where Germany was the model.
4.1Fail to meet a commitment to make a regular payment: borrowers falling behind with their mortgage payments
More example sentences
  • Council tenants should contact their estate manager immediately if they are falling behind with rent payments as a result of the problems
  • If you find that you are falling behind with your bills and worried about how to pay your credit debts, follow these tips.
  • Tenants causing a minor nuisances or falling behind with their rent will be issued with a warning.
lag, lag behind, trail, trail behind, be left behind, drop back, bring up the rear;
straggle, dally, dawdle, hang back
get into debt, get into arrears, default, be in the red

fall down

Be shown to be inadequate or false; fail: the deal fell down partly because there were a lot of unanswered questions
More example sentences
  • Of course, this falls down if surfers fail to double-check the authenticity of a site.
  • Dunblane was where the handgun licensing system fell down catastrophically.
  • It fell down on information governance, MRSA rates and its stroke unit facilities.

fall for

1Be captivated by; fall in love with.
Example sentences
  • I'll bet your house is fine, and you probably loved it before you fell for her pool and tennis court.
  • He joins a self-help group whose leader, played by Sheila Henderson, falls for him but her love remains unrequited.
  • Crystal didn't know what to say. It was hard to accept that this man who she was falling for was in love with her after so little a time.
fall in love with, become infatuated with, lose one's heart to, take a fancy to, be smitten with/by, be attracted to
informal have the hots for
2Be deceived by (something): he should have known better than to expect Duncan to fall for a cheap trick like that
More example sentences
  • You're not expecting us to fall for that a second time are you?
  • Let us not fall for cheap tactics and propaganda that are designed to divide us.
  • Luckily for its readers, this newspaper would never fall for such cheap tricks.
be deceived by, be duped by, be fooled by, be taken in by, believe, trust, be convinced by
informal go for, buy, 'swallow (hook, line, and sinker)'

fall in

1Take one’s place in a military formation: the soldiers fell in by the side of the road
More example sentences
  • She followed the captain meekly, and two guards fell in beside her, one on either side.
  • A pair of armed guards fell in at a discreet distance as I made my way back to my rooms.
  • I set off along that familiar walk toward the workshops, the guards falling in behind me.
get in formation, get in line, line up, take one's position
2(Of a structure) collapse inward.
Example sentences
  • The blaze caused the roof to fall in now putting the first floor at risk of collapse.
  • He was in the east wing of the building and the roof fell in on him. He is recovering rapidly and will be out again in a few days.
  • I have a roof falling in, will my insurance cover it?

fall in with

1Meet by chance and become involved with: he fell in with thieves
More example sentences
  • It was around this time, while working in a bar to make ends meet, that she fell in with Sims Ellison, bass guitarist with a heavy metal band called Pariah.
  • Travelers fall in with bands of thieves regularly, and a Good Samaritan is their only hope of rescue.
  • An Essex butcher, Turpin fell in with the wrong sort and became involved with a vicious gang of robbers who preyed on isolated homes.
2Act in accordance with (someone’s ideas or suggestions); agree to: falling in with other people’s views
More example sentences
  • That's unacceptable, and I won't fall in with that.
  • Not for the first time, the true Scottish patriots turned out not to be those who meekly fell in with Scotland's establishment consensus - but those who opposed it.
  • If the action is successful, the implications will be far-reaching, affecting 10 local authorities throughout Scotland and forcing them to adapt their admissions criteria to fall in with European law.

fall on (or upon)

1Attack fiercely or unexpectedly: the army fell on the besiegers
More example sentences
  • He raises the knife to his face, then to the girl's neck, and it is in that moment that the other shadow strikes, falling upon the Shadow-man and attacking it with some unseen weapon.
  • The Spirit of the Lord falls upon people like Gideon, Samson, and Saul, who then lead armies that fall upon the enemies of God's people.
  • Neither flinched when the first attackers fell upon them.
1.1Seize enthusiastically: she fell on the sandwiches as though she had not eaten in weeks
More example sentences
  • One of them was seized and crushed like an insect, but others fell upon the beast with renewed fury until it lay dead.
  • Then, again, seized with a new idea, he fell upon his notebook and the pencil became alive.
  • Albert seized the opportunity instantly, falling on Theo like a bird of prey, bending him back, knife upraised for the final, triumphant killing blow.
2(Of someone’s eyes or gaze) be directed toward: her gaze fell on the mud-stained coverlet
More example sentences
  • Her gaze fell upon his satchel and she silently walked towards it.
  • Their anxious gaze falls on her every time she cries.
  • But his joyous expression faded as his gaze fell upon another girl.
3(Of a burden or duty) be borne or incurred by: the cost of tuition should not fall on the student
More example sentences
  • Responsibility for minimising casualties falls on him.
  • The task of slaughtering the animals fell on the Army.
  • The burden of manning the attack fell on rookies.

fall out

1(Of the hair, teeth, etc.) become detached and drop out.
Example sentences
  • They seemed to be no better off than their subjects, with hair and teeth falling out and sores like burns on bare faces and hands.
  • And my hair is falling out, I have sores in my mouth, my teeth ache - my whole body aches!
  • He said that his strong character was tested at the upper school when his hair completely fell out, a condition which is believed to be hereditary in the family.
2Have an argument: he had fallen out with his family
More example sentences
  • The two groups fell out over differences in ‘approach,’ which included more than the business plan.
  • They're business partners who fell out over a dirty deal.
  • The various guardians of the under-aged stars fell out over the money which slowly evaporated into the hands of lawyers.
3Leave one’s place in a military formation, or on parade: the two policemen at the rear fell out of the formation
More example sentences
  • Bruiser screamed as his fighter took a salvo of fire from his pursuers and he fell out of formation with Mask and Wheezy.
  • The other ships in his group had taken heed of the hull pattern; they were starting to fall out of formation and were reorienting for their escape.
  • I made an interphone call to the aft station and got a weary reply from one of the weapons system officers saying it looked like we were falling out of position.
4Happen; turn out: matters fell out as Stephen arranged
More example sentences
  • The subject matter falls out as irrelevant, the different views on the same thing are what it's about.
  • I have actually thought about Sweden, which is hardly a hardship post and part of the reason that Sweden is so interesting is because I have a rather fascinating result that falls out of the trust experiments.

fall through

Come to nothing; fail: the project fell through due to lack of money
More example sentences
  • There were also two attempts to return the girls to their mother but these fell through when she failed to look after them.
  • This venture fell through due to difficulties in raising the necessary project financing.
  • It leads to pages that are part of an older project that fell through.

fall to

(Of a task) become the duty or responsibility of: it fell to me to write to Shephard
More example sentences
  • Perhaps the hardest task of all falls to Korea, who will open proceedings on Wednesday with a game against the defending world champions.
  • Given that the Conservatives and the media cannot finish him off, this task may well fall to the Labour Party itself.
  • Last night, this thankless task fell to Richard Wilson, who coped magnificently as one would expect.
be the responsibility of, be the duty of, be borne by, be one's job;
come someone's way
fail, be unsuccessful, come to nothing, miscarry, abort, go awry, collapse, founder, come to grief
informal fizzle out, flop, fold, come a cropper, go over like a lead balloon
12.1(Of property) revert to the ownership of.
Example sentences
  • He plans on having the cousins fall in love and marry, so that her property will fall to him when Linton dies.
  • When this manager died, the property fell to all the children.
  • When he dies, the property falls to Hindley, who treats the former favorite as a servant.


Old Englishfallan, feallan, of Germanic origin; the noun is partly from the verb, partly from Old Norse fall 'downfall, sin'.

  • Even in Old English the difference between fall and befall was that the first was used literally while the second was used figuratively in the sense such as ‘happened’. When we say of a disappointed person that his face fell, we are using an expression which was originally a translation from Hebrew: ‘And Cain was very wroth [angry], and his countenance fell.’ If we say of someone who has given up an attempt that they have fallen by the wayside, we are echoing the parable of the sower, told by Jesus to his disciples in St Matthew's Gospel. The person who has stopped trying to achieve something is compared with seed which ‘fell by the wayside’ and was eaten by birds, and therefore produced no crop. The same story gives us an expression for a suggestion which is badly received or ignored: it is said to fall on stony ground. This refers to the seed in the parable which ‘fell on stony places’ and withered. In Christian, Jewish, and Muslim tradition a fallen angel is an angel who rebelled against God and was cast out of heaven. The devil was the head of the fallen angels. These are largely negative senses, but a more positive expression is found in fall on your feet, used to indicate that you emerge unhurt from a difficult or damaging situation. The reference is to cats, which always seem to land elegantly after a fall or jump.

Words that rhyme with fall

all, appal (US appall), awl, Bacall, ball, bawl, befall, Bengal, brawl, call, caul, crawl, Donegal, drawl, drywall, enthral (US enthrall), forestall, gall, Galle, Gaul, hall, haul, maul, miaul, miscall, Montreal, Naipaul, Nepal, orle, pall, Paul, pawl, Saul, schorl, scrawl, seawall, Senegal, shawl, small, sprawl, squall, stall, stonewall, tall, thrall, trawl, wall, waul, wherewithal, withal, yawl

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fall

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