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

The downfall of the Celtics' dreams started 12 months ago, when Gordon Hayward went down with an injury., "Gordon Hayward, Kyrie Irving and the Downfall of the Celtics' Dreams | Open Floor Podcast," 19 June 2019 The disclosure of the 2011 payment ultimately led to the downfall of Platini — who had also been tarnished by accusations of having facilitated Qatar’s selection for the 2022 World Cup — and to the end of Blatter’s career. Rick Noack, Washington Post, "Former senior soccer official Michel Platini reportedly detained amid investigation into 2022 World Cup in Qatar," 18 June 2019 His very presence, after all, recalled the downfall of President Richard Nixon—an event Dean, then the White House counsel, helped bring about. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Democrats Are Losing This Made-for-TV Moment," 12 June 2019 But as Corden welcomed the crowd, one of the downfalls of live theater came into play — people taking bathroom breaks. Eric Todisco,, "Bryan Cranston Tries to Leave 2019 Tony Awards During Hilarious Opener: 'I Am Bloated as Hell'," 9 June 2019 Of course, just over a year after Carlson went public with her story, the #MeToo movement exploded, leading to the downfall of Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Louis C.K., and others. Liz Cantrell, Town & Country, "Gretchen Carlson Is on a Mission to Help Women Who Have Been Sexually Harassed," 10 May 2019 The commission's work with Guatemalan prosecutors has led to high-profile graft probes that ensnared dozens of politicians and businesspeople and even led to the downfall of former President Otto Perez Molina and his then-vice president. Fox News, "Guatemala president shuts down UN anti-corruption commission," 31 Aug. 2018 The way Beijing dragged out its approval process for Qualcomm ’s purchase of NXP Semiconductors this year—causing the deal’s downfall—are fresh in the memory. Andrew Peaple, WSJ, "Can U.S.-China Tensions Derail Two Big Deals?," 17 Oct. 2018 This was, in part, what led to the studio’s downfall, as Telltale took on too much too soon, and the work — and staff — suffered. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "How The Walking Dead studio changed video game storytelling for the better," 24 Sep. 2018

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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Statistics for downfall

Last Updated

24 Jun 2019

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on downfall

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with downfall

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for downfall

Spanish Central: Translation of downfall

Nglish: Translation of downfall for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of downfall for Arabic Speakers

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