• synonyms


See more synonyms for downfall on Thesaurus.com
  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.
Show More

Origin of downfall

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at down1, fall
Related formsdown·fall·en, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for downfall

breakdown, undoing, collapse, debacle, deterioration, overthrow, destruction, ruination, down, discomfiture, comeuppance, comedown, descent, deluge, flood, drop, decadence, cloudburst, bane, failure

Examples from the Web for downfall

Contemporary Examples of downfall

Historical Examples of downfall

  • The touch, the choke in her voice, brought about Viviette's downfall.


    William J. Locke

  • It is probable that Handel himself had contributed to the downfall of the Academy.


    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


  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
Show More
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 downfall


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

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper