verb (used without object), fell, fall·en, fall·ing.
verb (used with object), fell, fall·en, fall·ing.
- an act or instance of holding or forcing an opponent's shoulders against the mat for a specified length of time.
- a match or division of a match.
- to withdraw support or allegiance: The candidate's supporters fell away when he advocated racial discrimination.
- to become lean or thin; diminish; decline.
- to forsake one's faith, cause, or principles: Many fell away because they were afraid of reprisals.
- Also fall back to.to retreat to: They fell back on their entrenchments. The troops fell back to their original position.
- to have recourse to; rely on: They had no savings to fall back on.
- to lag, in pace or progress: We are falling behind in our work. Fatigued, some of the marchers fell behind.
- to fail to pay (a debt, obligation, etc.) at the appointed time: She fell behind in her tax payments, and the property was confiscated.
- to be deceived by: Imagine falling for such an old trick.
- to fall in love with: He's not at all the type you would expect her to fall for.
- to fall to pieces toward the interior; sink inward.
- to take one's place in the ranks, as a soldier.
- Also fall in with.to become acquainted with, especially by chance: We fell in with an interesting couple from Paris.
- to separate from; withdraw.
- to decrease in number, amount, or intensity; diminish: Tourism falls off when the summer is over.
- Nautical.to deviate from the heading; fall to leeward.
- South Midland and Southern U.S.to lose weight, usually due to illness: She was sick all winter and fell off till she was just skin and bones.
- to assault; attack: The enemy fell on them suddenly from the rear.
- to be the obligation of: It has fallen on me to support the family.
- to experience; encounter: Once well-to-do, they had fallen on hard times.
- to chance upon; come upon: I fell upon the idea while looking through a magazine.
- to quarrel; disagree: We fell out over who was to wash the dishes.
- to happen; occur: It fell out that we met by chance weeks later.
- to leave one's place in the ranks, as a soldier: They were ordered to fall out when the parade ended.
- Slang.to burst out laughing.
- South Midland and Southern U.S.to become unconscious; pass out.
- to apply oneself; begin: to fall to work.
- to begin to eat: They fell to and soon finished off the entire turkey.
- to be the concern or responsibility of.
- to be classified as; be included within: That case falls under the heading of errors of judgment.
- bend1(def 21).
- 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
verb falls, falling, fell (fɛl) or fallen (ˈfɔːlən) (mainly intr)
- to come into conflict with
- nauticalto come into collision with
- to prove inadequate
- (often foll by of)to fail to reach or measure up to (a standard)
- a waterfall or cataract
- (capital when part of a name)Niagara Falls
- another word for deadfall
- (as modifier)a fall trap
- the birth of an animal
- the animals produced at a single birth
Word Origin 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.
Energetically begin an activity, set to work, as in As soon as they had the right tools, they fell to work on the house. This expression is also often used to mean “begin to eat.” Charles Dickens so used it in American Notes (1842): “We fall-to upon these dainties.” [Late 1500s]
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
- 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