downfall

noun
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

Cohen sentencing has some pundits declaring that the various trials of his disgraced associates could actually start to spell the downfall of the president himself. Vogue, "Michael Cohen Gets 3 Years in Prison. What Are the Implications for Donald Trump?," 12 Dec. 2018 In the century after his downfall and beyond, a plethora of writers and thinkers would grapple with Napoleon’s legacy. Benjamin Shull, WSJ, "Portraiture as Propaganda," 17 Aug. 2018 Omani forecasters warned Salalah and the surrounding area would get at least 200 millimeters (7.87 inches) of rain, over twice the city's annual downfall. Fox News, "Powerful cyclone lashes into Arabian Peninsula, killing at least 5," 26 May 2018 Omani forecasters said Salalah and the surrounding area would get at least 7.87 inches of rain, over twice the city's annual downfall. Jon Gambrell, chicagotribune.com, "5 dead, 30 missing after powerful cyclone strikes Oman, Yemen," 26 May 2018 For many years, that versatility was the mai tai’s downfall. Lou Bustamante, San Francisco Chronicle, "The rise, fall and redemption of the mai tai," 10 May 2018 This horse’s downfall began when German merchant Carl Hagenbeck, who specialized in selling wild animals to zoos as well as to P.T. Barnum, captured pretty much all the wild populations of the horse. Ralph Steadman, Discover Magazine, "Where the Wild Things Aren't," 1 Mar. 2018 Still others bemoaned the missteps that led to the company’s downfall... Suzanne Kapner, WSJ, "Sears Shoppers, Workers Lament Its Demise," 18 Mar. 2019 Trump has contrasted a path toward prosperity for the North under a nuclear deal with the potential downfall of the regime if talks collapse. Missy Ryan, Washington Post, "What will U.S. give North Korea in exchange for nukes? Ahead of summit, question looms.," 31 May 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

13 May 2019

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Time Traveler for downfall

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

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More Definitions for downfall

downfall

noun

English Language Learners Definition of downfall

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

downfall

noun
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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