verb (past befell; past participle befallen)[with object] • literary
- (Of something bad) happen to someone: a tragedy befell his daughter [no object]: she was to blame for anything that befellMore example sentences
- In November 1913 a fatal tragedy befell the family - after a quarrel Lora committed suicide.
- Despite the disgrace and humiliation which eventually befell him, he never wavered from his beliefs.
- We're sorry these warnings were too late to prevent the tragedy that befell your family.
Old English befeallan 'to fall' (early use being chiefly figurative); related to German befallen.