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2017 Word of the Year

downfall

[doun-fawl] /ˈdaʊnˌfɔl/
noun
1.
descent to a lower position or standing; overthrow; ruin.
2.
something causing ruin, failure, etc.:
Liquor was his downfall.
3.
a fall, as of rain, snow, or the like, often sudden or heavy.
4.
a trap using a falling weight for killing, injuring, or imprisoning the prey.
Origin of downfall
1250-1300
Middle English word dating back to 1250-1300; See origin at down1, fall
Related forms
downfallen, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for downfall
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The touch, the choke in her voice, brought about Viviette's downfall.

    Viviette William J. Locke
  • It is probable that Handel himself had contributed to the downfall of the Academy.

    Handel Edward J. Dent
  • This old bell rung the downfall of Buonaparte and broke, April 1814.

    English Villages P. H. Ditchfield
  • America will be lost to Britain forever, and will prove her downfall.

  • Like her sister, she showed an admirable spirit at the time of her father's downfall.

    A Zola Dictionary J. G. Patterson
British Dictionary definitions for downfall

downfall

/ˈdaʊnˌfɔːl/
noun
1.
a sudden loss of position, health, or reputation
2.
a fall of rain, snow, etc, esp a sudden heavy one
3.
another word for deadfall
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
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Word Origin and History for downfall
n.

"ruin, fall from high condition," c.1300, from down (adv.) + fall (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Nearby words for downfall

Word Value for downfall

15
18
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