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.
Recent Examples on the Web
An initial test flight also failed in April, exploding four minutes after liftoff and flinging debris throughout the surrounding area.—WIRED, 18 Nov. 2023 SpaceX congratulated its team on a successful lift-off and booster separation, which comes months after the booster failed to separate during the first flight test.—Meredith Deliso, ABC News, 18 Nov. 2023 In October, a group of New York Republicans called for an expulsion vote which failed to succeed on Nov. 1.—Virginia Chamlee, Peoplemag, 17 Nov. 2023 In line with last year’s somewhat intimate party, GQ’s Will Welch never fails to create an impeccable vibe that is magnified by each guest.—Jamila Stewart, Vogue, 17 Nov. 2023 This case is not the same as the great-power distraction, in which the world’s most powerful states simply fail to focus on emerging crises.—Paul Poast, The Atlantic, 17 Nov. 2023 Yet reporting found that all the seats that failed in these types of rear-end collisions met or exceeded the half-century-old federal strength standard.—Kris Van Cleave, CBS News, 17 Nov. 2023 Some even say the market has failed and price regulation is needed.—Harris Meyer, Fortune, 17 Nov. 2023 People’s diets are one place where most high-income countries are failing drastically.—WIRED, 6 Nov. 2023
Summaries of all the applicants, which included pass/fail notes, were published on the AMCC website when the licenses were awarded Monday.—Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al, 13 Sep. 2023 Here’s what the report found The report found that 0.01% of leaves are passing the critical temperature threshold, meaning their ability to photosynthesize fails.—Sara Chernikoff, USA TODAY, 25 Aug. 2023 There was very much a fail hard, fail fast mentality, which has never been my vibe.—Claire Stern, ELLE, 15 Aug. 2023 As dreams of building a home fail, a sense of hope can curdle into a feeling of homelessness.—Meghan Racklin, The New Republic, 10 Aug. 2023 There’s no getting around the fact that game and the entire series constituted an epic fail for Brown.—Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 20 July 2023 Will people be lulled into letting the AI do the data analyses for them and ergo fail to double-check or use humankind's common sense to ascertain whether the results are viable and practical?—Lance Eliot, Forbes, 17 July 2023 Yes, 2020 may seem like a complete fail with all the constant bad news and tragic moments.—Jonathan Landrum Jr., Chron, 25 Dec. 2020 Yet their biggest fail was a problem Vollmer’s reforms didn’t address — or perhaps even recognize as a problem.—Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times, 30 May 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fail.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Verb and Noun
Middle English failen, from Anglo-French faillir, from Vulgar Latin *fallire, alteration of Latin fallere to deceive, disappoint