Definition of fail
1a : to lose strength : weaken her health was failingb : to fade or die away until our family line failsc : to stop functioning normally the patient's heart failed
2a : to fall short failed in his dutyb : to be or become absent or inadequate the water supply failedc : to be unsuccessful the marriage failed; specifically : to be unsuccessful in achieving a passing grade took the exam and failedd : to become bankrupt or insolvent banks were failing
1a : to disappoint the expectations or trust of her friends failed herb : to miss performing an expected service or function for his wit failed him
2 : to be deficient in : lack never failed an invincible courage — Douglas MacArthur
3 : to leave undone : neglect fail to lock the door
4a : to be unsuccessful in passing failed chemistryb : to grade (someone, such as a student) as not passing The teacher failed only his two worst students.
failinglyplay \ˈfā-liŋ-lē\ adverb
Examples of fail in a Sentence
He failed in his first attempt but succeeded in his second attempt.
His first company failed, but his second company succeeded.
He felt that he had failed her when she needed him most.
The government has failed the voters.
Origin and Etymology of fail
Middle English failen, from Anglo-French faillir, from Vulgar Latin *fallire, alteration of Latin fallere to deceive, disappoint
First Known Use: 13th century
FAIL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of fail for English Language Learners
: to not succeed : to end without success
: to not succeed as a business : to become bankrupt
: to not do (something that you should do or are expected to do)
FAIL Defined for Kids
Definition of fail for Students
1 : to be unsuccessful He failed the test.
2 : to grade as not passing My teacher failed me.
3 : to stop functioning The engine failed.
4 : to be or become absent or not enough The water supply failed.
5 : to become bankrupt The business failed.
6 : 1neglect 2 Don't fail to ask if you need my help.
8 : to lose strength : weaken She's failing in health.
Medical Definition of fail
1: to weaken or lose strength her health was failing
2: to stop functioning normally the patient's heart failed
Legal Definition of fail
1 : to be or become inadequate or unsuccessful especially in fulfilling certain formal requirements even if one or more terms are left open, a contract for sale does not fail for indefiniteness — Uniform Commercial Code
2 : to become bankrupt or insolvent
: to leave undone or neglect to do fail to appear in court fail to read a contract
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