down·​fall | \ ˈdau̇n-ˌfȯl How to pronounce downfall (audio) \

Definition of downfall

1a : a sudden fall (as from power)
b : a fall (as of snow or rain) especially when sudden or heavy
2 : something that causes a downfall (as of a person) gambling was his downfall

Other Words from downfall

downfallen \ ˈdau̇n-​ˌfȯ-​lən How to pronounce downfall (audio) \ adjective

Examples of downfall in a Sentence

Their downfall was the result of several bad decisions. Bad decision-making was their downfall.
Recent Examples on the Web In addition to the downfall in total revenues, the bank reported an increase in provisions for credit losses from -$435 million to $642 million in the quarter. Trefis Team, Forbes, 13 May 2022 And over the past 13-plus years, Pluto in Capricorn has caused many ugly truths to bubble to the surface, resulting in the downfall of corporations and people in power that have refused to evolve. Lisa Stardust,, 20 Feb. 2022 Hilton, who had a front row seat for the Bengals downfall in the late 2010s, told the rest of the team about the magnitude of the Bengals rivalry with Pittsburgh. Charlie Goldsmith, The Enquirer, 28 Nov. 2021 Venezuelan leaders had successfully built this regime of freedom after the downfall of Marcos Pérez Jiménez's military dictatorship in 1958. Leopoldo López, CNN, 11 Nov. 2021 These are the conditions that resulted in the neoliberal order’s rise, success and ultimate downfall. Washington Post, 6 May 2022 The Oilers were four for eight on the power play in the first two games, another downfall for the Kings after their mediocre penalty-killing success rate of 76.7% this season. Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2022 The writers and Harris did a good job of tracking Haywood’s downfall due to age, his accidental feud with Paul Westhead, and his drug addiction. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 2 May 2022 Credit Suisse, Morgan Stanley and Nomura Holdings all incurred losses exceeding $10 billion tied to Archegos’ downfall, the Wall Street Journal reported. Washington Post, 27 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'downfall.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of downfall

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of downfall was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

25 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Downfall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for downfall


down·​fall | \ ˈdau̇n-ˌfȯl How to pronounce downfall (audio) \

Kids Definition of downfall

: a sudden fall (as from power, happiness, or a high position) or the cause of such a fall the downfall of the Roman Empire Greed proved to be his downfall.

Other Words from downfall

downfallen \ -​ˌfȯl-​ən \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on downfall

Nglish: Translation of downfall for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of downfall for Arabic Speakers


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