• synonyms


  1. an approach to or sighting of land: The ship will make its landfall at noon tomorrow.
  2. the land sighted or reached.
  3. a landslide.
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Origin of landfall

First recorded in 1620–30; land + fall
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for landfall


  1. the act of sighting or nearing land, esp from the sea
  2. the land sighted or neared
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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 landfall


"sighting of land," 1620s, also "the first land 'made' on a sea voyage;" from land (v.1) + fall (v.) in the sense of "happen." From the days of imprecise nautical navigation.

Land-fall. The first land discovered after a sea voyage. Thus a good land fall implies the land expected or desired; a bad landfall the reverse. [John Hamilton Moore, "The New Practical Navigator," London, 1814]

Of hurricanes, by 1932.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper