Nearby words

  1. fahrenheit scale,
  2. fai,
  3. faial,
  4. faidherbe,
  5. faience,
  6. fail-safe,
  7. fail-soft,
  8. failed,
  9. failed state,
  10. failing


    without fail, with certainty; positively: I will visit you tomorrow without fail.

Origin of fail

1175–1225; Middle English failen < Anglo-French, Old French faillir < Vulgar Latin *fallīre, for Latin fallere to disappoint, deceive

Related formsun·failed, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fail

British Dictionary definitions for fail


/ (feɪl) /



a failure to attain the required standard, as in an examination
without fail definitely; with certainty

Word Origin for fail

C13: from Old French faillir, ultimately from Latin fallere to disappoint; probably related to Greek phēlos deceitful


Scot a turf; sod

Word Origin for fail

perhaps from Scottish Gaelic fàl

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 fail
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with fail


see without fail; words fail me.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.