Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[bih-fawl] /bɪˈfɔl/
verb (used without object), befell, befallen, befalling.
to happen or occur.
Archaic. to come, as by right.
verb (used with object), befell, befallen, befalling.
to happen to, especially by chance or fate.
Origin of befall
before 900; Middle English befallen, Old English befeallan. See be-, fall (v.)
1. bechance, ensue, betide, materialize, chance. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for befall
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Then he went down—stairs, prepared for whatever should befall him that day.

  • No; I felt this was not the case; but I felt that something worse than this was about to befall me.

  • Without a hand to guide and guard her, what evils might not befall?

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • Roma, if I allowed these misfortunes to befall you it was only to let you feel what others could do for you.

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • Can it be that you are indeed curious to know what will befall when he returns?

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for befall


verb (archaic or literary) -falls, -falling, -fell, -fallen
(intransitive) to take place; come to pass
(transitive) to happen to
(intransitive) usually foll by to. to be due, as by right
Word Origin
Old English befeallan; related to Old High German bifallan, Dutch bevallen; see be-, fall
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for befall

Old English befeallan "to deprive of; fall to, be assigned to; befall," from be- "by, about" + feallan (see fall). Cf. Old Frisian bifalla, Old Saxon, Old High German bifallan, German befallen. Related: Befell; befalling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for befall

Word Value for befall

Scrabble Words With Friends