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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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for downfallen
Historical Examples
  • Very likely he is staring at a downfallen horse and has forgotten this affair.

  • At prayers morning and evening, it was pitiful to observe her glance of entreaty and her downfallen eyelashes.

  • A strange look of wonder illuminated the face of the downfallen man.

  • But the poor gentleman—the downfallen man of rank—the degraded man of birth—the disabled and disarmed man of power!

    St. Ronan's Well Sir Walter Scott
  • All of his life that is known to us was passed in the company of publicans, of the downfallen, and of Pharisees.

    My Religion Leo Tolstoy
  • With an instinctive feeling for social solidarity they took the side of the downfallen police.

    The Revolt of the Angels Anatole France
British Dictionary definitions for downfallen

downfallen

/ˈdaʊnˌfɔːlən/
adjective
1.
(of a building, etc) decrepit
2.
(mainly US) (of a person) ruined; fallen

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 downfallen

downfall

n.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Word Value for downfallen

17
21
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