[ doun-fawl ]
/ ˈdaʊnˌfɔl /


descent to a lower position or standing; overthrow; ruin.
something causing ruin, failure, etc.: Liquor was his downfall.
a fall, as of rain, snow, or the like, often sudden or heavy.
a trap using a falling weight for killing, injuring, or imprisoning the prey.

Nearby words

  1. downdraught,
  2. downer,
  3. downers grove,
  4. downey,
  5. downey cell,
  6. downfallen,
  7. downfield,
  8. downforce,
  9. downgrade,
  10. downgrowth

Origin of downfall

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at down1, fall

Related formsdown·fall·en, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for downfallen

British Dictionary definitions for downfallen


/ (ˈdaʊnˌfɔːlən) /


(of a building, etc) decrepit
mainly US (of a person) ruined; fallen


/ (ˈdaʊnˌfɔːl) /


a sudden loss of position, health, or reputation
a fall of rain, snow, etc, esp a sudden heavy one
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

Word Origin and History for downfallen



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper