Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

fall

play
verb \ˈfȯl\

Simple Definition of fall

  • : to come or go down quickly from a high place or position

  • : to come or go down suddenly from a standing position

  • : to let yourself come or go down to a lower position

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of fall

fell

play \ˈfel\

fallen

play \ˈfȯ-lən\

falling

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to descend freely by the force of gravity b :  to hang freely <her hair falls over her shoulders> c :  to drop oneself to a lower position <fell to his knees> d :  to come or go as if by falling <darkness falls early in the winter>

  3. 2 :  to become born —usually used of lambs

  4. 3 a :  to become lower in degree or level <the temperature fell 10°> b :  to drop in pitch or volume <their voices fell to a whisper> c :  issue 1a, b <wisdom that fell from his lips> d :  to become lowered <her eyes fell>

  5. 4 a :  to leave an erect position suddenly and involuntarily <slipped and fell on the ice> b :  to enter as if unawares :  stumble, stray <fell into error> c :  to drop down wounded or dead; especially :  to die in battle d :  to suffer military capture <after a long siege the city fell> e :  to lose office <the party fell from power> f :  to suffer ruin, defeat, or failure <the deal fell through>

  6. 5 :  to commit an immoral act; especially :  to lose one's chastity

  7. 6 a :  to move or extend in a downward direction <the land falls away to the east> b :  subside, abate <the wind is falling> c :  to decline in quality, activity, or quantity <production fell off> d :  to lose weight —used with off or away e :  to assume a look of shame, disappointment, or dejection <his face fell> f :  to decline in financial value or price <stocks fell sharply>

  8. 7 a :  to occur at a certain time <her birthday falls on a Monday this year> b :  to come by chance <a job that fell into his hands> c :  to come or pass by lot, assignment, or inheritance :  devolve <it fell to him to break the news> d :  to have a certain or proper position, place, or station <the accent falls on the second syllable>

  9. 8 :  to come within the limits, scope, or jurisdiction of something <this word falls into the class of verbs>

  10. 9 :  to pass suddenly and passively into a state of body or mind or a new state or condition <fall asleep> <fall in love>

  11. 10 :  to set about heartily or actively <fell to work>

  12. 11 :  strike, impinge <music falling on the ear>

  13. transitive verb
  14. :  fell 1

fall all over oneself

or

fall over oneself

or

fall over backward

  1. :  to display great or excessive eagerness

fall apart

  1. 1 :  disintegrate

  2. 2 :  to succumb to mental or emotional stress :  break down

fall behind

  1. 1 :  to lag behind

  2. 2 :  to be in arrears

fall between two stools

  1. :  to fail because of inability to choose between or reconcile two alternative or conflicting courses of action

fall flat

  1. :  to produce no response or result <the joke fell flat>

fall for

  1. 1 :  to fall in love with

  2. 2 :  to become a victim of <fell for the trick>

fall from grace

  1. :  backslide 1

fall home

  1. :  to curve inward —used of the timbers or upper parts of a ship's side

fall into line

  1. :  to comply with a certain course of action

fall on

or

fall upon

  1. :  to meet with <fell on hard times>

fall on one's face

  1. :  to fail utterly <the movie fell on its face at the box office>

fall on one's sword

  1. :  to sacrifice one's pride or position

fall short

  1. 1 :  to be deficient

  2. 2 :  to fail to attain something (as a goal or target)

Examples of fall in a sentence

  1. An apple fell from the tree.

  2. A vase fell off the shelf.

  3. Rain fell from the sky.

  4. the sound of the falling rain

  5. She slipped and fell on the ice.

  6. He fell flat on his face.

  7. She was afraid that I would trip and fall.

  8. He fell down the stairs.

  9. One of the sailors had fallen overboard.

  10. He fell back onto the bed.



Origin and Etymology of fall

Middle English, from Old English feallan; akin to Old High German fallan to fall and perhaps to Lithuanian pulti


First Known Use: before 12th century


2

fall

noun

Definition of fall

  1. 1 :  the act of falling by the force of gravity

  2. 2 a :  a falling out, off, or away :  dropping <the fall of leaves> <a fall of snow> b :  the season when leaves fall from trees :  autumn c :  a thing or quantity that falls or has fallen <a fall of rock at the base of the cliff>; especially :  one or more meteorites or their fragments that have fallen together d (1) :  birth (2) :  the quantity born —usually used of lambs

  3. 3 a :  a costume decoration of lace or thin fabric arranged to hang loosely and gracefully b :  a very wide turned-down collar worn in the 17th century c :  the part of a turnover collar from the crease to the outer edge d :  a wide front flap on trousers (as those worn by sailors) e :  the freely hanging lower edge of the skirt of a coat f :  one of the three outer and often drooping segments of the flower of an iris g :  long hair overhanging the face of dogs of some breeds h :  a usually long straight portion of hair that is attached to a person's own hair

  4. 4 :  a hoisting-tackle rope or chain; especially :  the part of it to which the power is applied

  5. 5 a :  loss of greatness :  collapse <the fall of the Roman Empire> b :  the surrender or capture of a besieged place <the fall of Troy> c :  lapse or departure from innocence or goodness d :  loss of a woman's chastity e :  the blame for a failure or misdeed <took the fall for the robbery>

  6. 6 a :  the downward slope (as of a hill) :  declivity b :  a precipitous descent of water :  waterfall —usually used in plural but singular or plural in construction c :  a musical cadence d :  a falling-pitch intonation in speech

  7. 7 :  a decrease in size, quantity, degree, or value

  8. 8 a :  the distance which something falls b :  inclination, pitch

  9. 9 a :  the act of felling something b :  the quantity of trees cut down c (1) :  an act of forcing a wrestler's shoulders to the mat for a specified time (as one second) (2) :  a bout of wrestling

  10. 10 Scottish :  destiny, lot



Examples of fall in a sentence

  1. a fall from a horse

  2. She's had several bad falls in recent years.

  3. a fall of three feet

  4. the rise and fall of the tide

  5. She went off to college in the fall.

  6. Several weeks of fall remain before winter begins.

  7. When fall came he planted grass.

  8. a fall in the price of oil



13th Century

First Known Use of fall

13th century

Other Calendar Terms


3

fall

adjective

Definition of fall

  1. :  of, relating to, or suitable for autumn <a new fall coat>



1677

First Known Use of fall

1677



FALL Defined for Kids

1

fall

play
verb \ˈfȯl\

Definition of fall for Students

fell

\ˈfel\

fallen

\ˈfȯ-lən\

falling

  1. 1 :  to come or go down freely by the force of gravity <An apple fell from the tree.>

  2. 2 :  to come as if by falling <Night fell before we got home.>

  3. 3 :  to become lower (as in degree or value) <The temperature fell ten degrees.>

  4. 4 :  to topple from an upright position <The tree fell.>

  5. 5 :  to collapse wounded or dead <Too many soldiers have fallen in battle.>

  6. 6 :  to become captured <The city fell to the enemy.>

  7. 7 :  to occur at a certain time <This year my birthday falls on a Monday.>

  8. 8 :  to pass from one condition of body or mind to another <fall asleep> <fall ill>

fall back

  1. :  2retreat 1 <“… the Witch and her crew will … fall back to her house and prepare for a siege.” — C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe>

fall short

  1. :  to fail to be as good or successful as expected <The sequel to my favorite movie fell short.>




2

fall

play
noun

Definition of fall for Students

  1. 1 :  the act or an instance of going or coming down by the force of gravity <a fall from a horse>

  2. 2 :  autumn

  3. 3 :  a thing or quantity that falls <a heavy fall of snow>

  4. 4 :  a loss of greatness :  downfall <the fall of an empire>

  5. 5 :  waterfall —usually used in pl. <Niagara Falls>

  6. 6 :  a decrease in size, amount, or value <a fall in prices>

  7. 7 :  the distance something falls <a fall of three feet>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up fall? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

airtight or solitary

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

two-chairs-on-a-pier-by-the-ocean-in-summer

Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

brumal vernal estival hiemal
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ