fall all over oneself, to show unusual or excessive enthusiasm or eagerness, especially in the hope of being favored or rewarded: The young trainees fell all over themselves to praise the boss's speech.Also fall over oneself.
    fall/come short. short(def 44).
    fall foul/afoul of. foul(def 38).
    fall off the roof, Slang: Older Use. to menstruate.
    fall/land on one's feet. feet(def 3).
    fall out of bed, to get out of bed quickly.
    fall over backward(s),
    1. bend1(def 21).
    2. to exhibit great eagerness, especially in pursuit of one's own advantage: The candidate fell over backward in support of the issues that would win votes.

Origin of fall

before 900; Middle English fallen, Old English feallan; cognate with German fallen, Old Norse falla; akin to Lithuanian pùlti to fall
Related formsun·fall·ing, adjective




Albert Bacon,1861–1944, U.S. politician: senator 1912–21; secretary of the Interior 1921–23; convicted in Teapot Dome scandal.

Fall, The


(French La Chute), a novel (1957) by Albert Camus. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fall

Contemporary Examples of fall

Historical Examples of fall

British Dictionary definitions for fall


verb falls, falling, fell (fɛl) or fallen (ˈfɔːlən) (mainly intr)

to descend by the force of gravity from a higher to a lower place
to drop suddenly from an erect position
to collapse to the ground, esp in pieces
to become less or lower in number, quality, etcprices fell in the summer
to become lower in pitch
to extend downwardsher hair fell to her waist
to be badly wounded or killed
to slope in a downward direction
Christianity to yield to temptation or sin
to diminish in status, estimation, etc
to yield to attackthe city fell under the assault
to lose powerthe government fell after the riots
to pass into or take on a specified conditionto fall asleep; fall in love
to adopt a despondent expressionher face fell
to be avertedher gaze fell
to come by chance or presumptionsuspicion fell on the butler
to occur; take placenight fell; Easter falls early this year
(of payments) to be due
to be directed to a specific point
(foll by back, behind, etc) to move in a specified direction
to occur at a specified placethe accent falls on the last syllable
(foll by to) to return (to); be inherited (by)the estate falls to the eldest son
(often foll by into, under, etc) to be classified or includedthe subject falls into two main areas
to issue fortha curse fell from her lips
(of animals, esp lambs) to be born
British dialect to become pregnant
(tr) Australian and NZ dialect to fell (trees)
cricket (of a batsman's wicket) to be taken by the bowling sidethe sixth wicket fell for 96
archaic to begin to dofall a-doing; fall to doing
fall flat to fail to achieve a desired effect
fall foul of
  1. to come into conflict with
  2. nauticalto come into collision with
fall short
  1. to prove inadequate
  2. (often foll by of)to fail to reach or measure up to (a standard)


an act or instance of falling
something that fallsa fall of snow
mainly US autumn
the distance that something fallsa hundred-foot fall
a sudden drop from an upright position
(often plural)
  1. a waterfall or cataract
  2. (capital when part of a name)Niagara Falls
a downward slope or decline
a decrease in value, number, etc
a decline in status or importance
a moral lapse or failing
a capture or overthrowthe fall of the city
a long false hairpiece; switch
a piece of loosely hanging material, such as a veil on a hat
machinery nautical the end of a tackle to which power is applied to hoist it
nautical one of the lines of a davit for holding, lowering, or raising a boat
Also called: pinfall wrestling a scoring move, pinning both shoulders of one's opponent to the floor for a specified period
  1. another word for deadfall
  2. (as modifier)a fall trap
  1. the birth of an animal
  2. the animals produced at a single birth
take the fall slang, mainly US to be blamed, punished, or imprisoned

Word Origin for fall

Old English feallan; related to Old Norse falla, Old Saxon, Old High German fallan to fall; see fell ²



the Fall theol Adam's sin of disobedience and the state of innate sinfulness ensuing from this for himself and all mankindSee also original sin
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 fall

Old English feallan (class VII strong verb; past tense feoll, past participle feallen) "to fall; fail, decay, die," from Proto-Germanic *fallanan (cf. Old Frisian falla, Old Saxon fallan, Dutch vallen, Old Norse falla, Old High German fallan, German fallen), from PIE root *pol- "to fall" (cf. Armenian p'ul "downfall," Lithuanian puola "to fall," Old Prussian aupallai "finds," literally "falls upon").

Most of the figurative senses had developed in Middle English. Meaning "to be reduced" (as temperature) is from 1650s. To fall in love is attested from 1520s; to fall asleep is late 14c. Fall through "come to naught" is from 1781. To fall for something is from 1903.


c.1200, "a falling;" see fall (n.). Old English noun form, fealle, meant "snare, trap." Sense of "autumn" (now only in U.S.) is 1660s, short for fall of the leaf (1540s). That of "cascade, waterfall" is from 1570s. Wrestling sense is from 1550s. Of a city under siege, etc., 1580s. Fall guy is from 1906.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with fall


In addition to the idioms beginning with fall

  • fall all over oneself
  • fall apart
  • fall asleep
  • fall away
  • fall back
  • fall back on
  • fall behind
  • fall between the cracks
  • fall by the wayside
  • fall down
  • fall flat
  • fall for
  • fall from grace
  • fall guy
  • fall in
  • falling down drunk
  • fall in line
  • fall in love
  • fall in place
  • fall into
  • fall in with
  • fall off
  • fall off the wagon
  • fall on
  • fall on deaf ears
  • fall on one's face
  • fall on one's feet
  • fall out
  • fall over
  • fall short of
  • fall through
  • fall through the cracks
  • fall to
  • fall under

also see:

  • bottom drops (falls) out
  • break one's fall
  • easy as pie (falling off a log)
  • let drop (fall)
  • let the chips fall where they may
  • ride for a fall
  • take the fall
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.