- to fall short of success or achievement in something expected, attempted, desired, or approved: The experiment failed because of poor planning.
- to receive less than the passing grade or mark in an examination, class, or course of study: He failed in history.
- to be or become deficient or lacking; be insufficient or absent; fall short: Our supplies failed.
- to dwindle, pass, or die away: The flowers failed for lack of rain.
- to lose strength or vigor; become weak: His health failed after the operation.
- to become unable to meet or pay debts or business obligations; become insolvent or bankrupt.
- (of a building member, structure, machine part, etc.) to break, bend, crush, or be otherwise destroyed or made useless because of an excessive load.
- to stop functioning or operating: The electricity failed during the storm.
- to make an embarrassing or humorous mistake, be in a humiliating situation, etc., and be subject to ridicule: Showed up late to the wedding? You fail!
- to be embarrassingly incompetent, stupid, etc.: She fails at life. I just failed at walking and fell on my face.
- to be bad or of inferior quality: The play is terrible—even the music fails.
- to be unsuccessful in the performance or completion of: He failed to do his duty.
- (of some expected or usual resource) to prove of no use or help to: His friends failed him. Words failed her.
- to receive less than a passing grade or mark in: He failed history.
- to declare (a person) unsuccessful in a test, course of study, etc.; give less than a passing grade to: The professor failed him in history.
- an embarrassing or humorous mistake, humiliating situation, etc., that is subject to ridicule and given an exaggerated importance: Their app update is a massive fail.
- the condition or quality resulting from having failed in this way: His online post is full of fail.
- a person who fails in this way.
- Stock Exchange.
- a stockbroker's inability to deliver or receive security within the required time after sale or purchase.
- such an undelivered security.
- Obsolete. failure as to performance, occurrence, etc.
- (used to mock an embarrassing or humorous mistake, humiliating situation, etc., giving it an exaggerated importance): A tattoo that misspells your name? Fail!
- (used to indicate that something is bad or of inferior quality)
- unsuccessful; failed: a totally fail policy.
- of or noting an embarrassing or humorous mistake, humiliating situation, etc.: the top 100 funniest fail photos on the Internet.
- embarrassingly incompetent, stupid, etc: Why am I so fail?
- very bad or of inferior quality.
- without fail, with certainty; positively: I will visit you tomorrow without fail.
Origin of fail
Examples from the Web for fail
The Big Five banks dubbed too big to fail, are 35 percent bigger than they were when the meltdown was triggered.Sen. Warren’s Main Street Crusade to Pressure Clinton
January 8, 2015
Diets not only fail to make us thinner, they also fail to make us healthier in the long term.Why Your New Year’s Diet Will Fail
December 30, 2014
These banks…are a whole lot bigger now than they were when we bailed them out in 2008 because they were too big to fail.
Instead, everyone agrees it has simply reinscribed too big to fail as explicit law.
Think about it: Dodd-Frank was explicitly passed to drive a stake through the heart of the implicit concept of “too big to fail.”
To my mind, under the conditions I have referred to, such could not fail to be the case.'Tis Sixty Years Since
Charles Francis Adams
If we fail, there must be a retreat westwards at least seventy miles.Explorations in Australia
God helping me, I will not fail them, if they will but counsel and sustain me!
If an increase of power was needed to secure this, they would not fail to ask it.The Grand Old Man
Richard B. Cook
He touched her hand with his lips and said gravely: "I will not fail your trust."Viviette
William J. Locke
- to be unsuccessful in an attempt (at something or to do something)
- (intr) to stop operating or working properlythe steering failed suddenly
- to judge or be judged as being below the officially accepted standard required for success in (a course, examination, etc)
- (tr) to prove disappointing, undependable, or useless to (someone)
- (tr) to neglect or be unable (to do something)
- (intr) to prove partly or completely insufficient in quantity, duration, or extent
- (intr) to weaken; fade away
- (intr) to go bankrupt or become insolvent
- a failure to attain the required standard, as in an examination
- without fail definitely; with certainty
- Scot a turf; sod
Word Origin and History for fail
early 13c., from Old French falir (11c., Modern French faillir) "be lacking, miss, not succeed," from Vulgar Latin *fallire, from Latin fallere "to trip, cause to fall;" figuratively "to deceive, trick, dupe, cheat, elude; fail, be lacking or defective." Related: Failed; failing. Replaced Old English abreoðan.
Idioms and Phrases with fail
see without fail; words fail me.