verb (used without object)
- 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.
verb (used with object)
- 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.
- a stockbroker's inability to deliver or receive security within the required time after sale or purchase.
- such an undelivered security.
- (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)
- 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.
THINK YOU’VE GOT A HANDLE ON THIS US STATE NICKNAME QUIZ?
Idioms for fail
Origin of fail
OTHER WORDS FROM failun·failed, adjective
Words nearby fail
Example sentences from the Web for fail
In this kind of “lights-out” datacenter, the servers would be swapped out about once every five years, with any that fail before then being taken offline.Microsoft Had a Crazy Idea to Put Servers Under Water—and It Totally Worked|Vanessa Bates Ramirez|September 17, 2020|Singularity Hub
An engineer’s brilliant plan for an automated system that would work for the billion dollar travel entity, but result in the failed account of the small realtor isn’t actually the right way…even if it’s more efficient for some automated program.This decade’s most important marketing question: What data rights do advertisers possess?|Kirk Williams|September 17, 2020|Search Engine Land
He constantly insists that his approval rating among Republicans is at 96 percent, an invented figure, and nearly as often insists that polls are failing to capture his full support.If voters are wary of stating support for Trump in polls, why does he outperform GOP Senate candidates?|Philip Bump|September 16, 2020|Washington Post
However, the system was triggered erroneously by a single sensor that failed in both crashes and it continued to push the nose down repeatedly.Boeing crashes were the “horrific culmination” of multiple mistakes, House report says|kdunn6|September 16, 2020|Fortune
I woke up before 7 AM, and the feeling of dread increased with every passing hour as the sun failed to appear.For millions of Americans, the wildfires made climate change real|Michael J. Coren|September 15, 2020|Quartz
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|Eleanor Clift|January 8, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Diets not only fail to make us thinner, they also fail to make us healthier in the long term.
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.”
I do not see how the Count D'Orsay can fail to win your heart.Adle Dubois|Mrs. William T. Savage
Even to-day there are many people who fail to grasp the essential facts of this situation.The Outline of History: Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind|Herbert George Wells
Go away, monsieur, you will not fail to catch the quarry you are pursuing.The Red and the Black|Stendhal
The chapters in the same way often fail to finish the subject with which they deal, and sometimes include several subjects.Study of Child Life|Marion Foster Washburne
The exposition was a very valuable one, and did not fail to attract a large concourse of people from all parts of the country.Reminiscences, 1819-1899|Julia Ward Howe.
British Dictionary definitions for fail (1 of 2)
Word Origin for fail
British Dictionary definitions for fail (2 of 2)
Word Origin for fail
Idioms and Phrases with fail
see without fail; words fail me.