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

British Dictionary definitions for without 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


/ (fel) /


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 without fail
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with without fail

without fail

For certain, as in That check will arrive tomorrow morning without fail. This idiom today is used mainly to strengthen a statement. [Early 1700s]


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.