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

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Other Words from downfall

downfallen \ ˈdau̇n-​ˌfȯ-​lən How to pronounce downfallen (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 Beginning of the downfall On Oct. 29, 2018, a Lion Air 737 MAX was the first of two passenger jets to crash. USA Today, "What’s next for the 737 MAX – and Boeing," 6 Feb. 2020 The testimony comes at a pivotal moment in the trial of Weinstein, whose downfall energized the #MeToo movement. Washington Post, "Weinstein accuser’s account grilled during cross examination," 3 Feb. 2020 The testimony comes at a pivotal moment in the trial of Weinstein, whose downfall energized the #MeToo movement. CBS News, "Key Harvey Weinstein accuser breaks down in tears during cross-examination," 3 Feb. 2020 The singer invites audiences to join her in her return to the spotlight after the downfall brought on in part by a public feud with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in 2016. Kathryn Lindsay,, "Taylor Swift Reveals Darkest, Most Important Song Yet In Miss Americana Doc," 31 Jan. 2020 Their downfall: Some reed diffusers come with a hefty price tag, and many have an artificial scent. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "How to Make a Homemade Reed Diffuser That'll Fill Your House With a Scent You Love," 31 Jan. 2020 His convincing suits could accelerate that downfall. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Men, Meet Your Next Suit. It’s Lime Green," 22 Jan. 2020 Bevin’s combative style, including his feud with teachers over pension and education policies, contributed to the GOP governor’s downfall. Bruce Schreiner, The Courier-Journal, "Andy Beshear says avoiding national politics fueled Kentucky win," 22 Nov. 2019 But his efforts to forge closer links between Renault and Nissan ran into opposition from within the Japanese company, and many experts say that may have been a factor in his downfall. Simon Denyer, Anchorage Daily News, "Indicted former Nissan boss escapes Japan in a ‘bolt from the blue,’ one of his lawyers says," 31 Dec. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of downfall

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

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Time Traveler for downfall

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for downfall

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Downfall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for downfall


How to pronounce downfall (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of downfall

: a sudden loss of power, happiness, success, etc.
: something that causes failure


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

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