- to happen or occur.
- Archaic. to come, as by right.
- to happen to, especially by chance or fate.
Origin of befall
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. bechance, ensue, betide, materialize, chance.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for befallen
A similar fate would have befallen those who borrowed against their homes to purchase calls on Apple stock last summer.Welcome to the Anarchy Economy
April 23, 2013
If someone were to ask me what disaster this was that had befallen my life, I might ask if they wanted the story or the truth.If You Read This Book, You Will Not Get Married
Melissa Holbrook Pierson
August 11, 2012
She was kind-hearted; else never would calamity have befallen her.
The afternoon was not very advanced, for all that had befallen him.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
Even while he was an infant in the cradle a strange accident had befallen hum.Biographical Stories
Immediately after escaping from this peril, a still greater one had befallen him.Tanglewood Tales
We cheered, thinking some dire calamity had befallen the enemy.Ned Myers
James Fenimore Cooper
- (intr) to take place; come to pass
- (tr) to happen to
- (intr usually foll by to) to be due, as by right
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
Word Origin and History for befallen
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper