1

fall

verb \ ˈfȯl \
Updated on: 21 Nov 2017

Definition of fall

fell play \ˈfel\; fallen play \ˈfȯ-lən\; falling
intransitive verb
1 a : to descend freely by the force of gravity
  • An apple fell from the tree.
b : to hang freely
  • her hair falls over her shoulders
c : to drop oneself to a lower position
  • fell to his knees
d : to come or go as if by falling
  • darkness falls early in the winter
2 : to become born usually used of lambs
3 a : to become lower in degree or level
  • the temperature fell 10°
b : to drop in pitch or volume
  • their voices fell to a whisper
c : issue 1a
  • wisdom that fell from his lips
d : to become lowered
  • her eyes fell
4 a : to leave an erect position suddenly and involuntarily
  • slipped and fell on the ice
b : to enter as if unawares : stumble, stray
  • fell into error
  • We fell into a trap.
c : to drop down wounded or dead; especially : to die in battle
  • Many men fell on the battlefield.
d : to suffer military capture
  • after a long siege the city fell
e : to lose office
  • the party fell from power
f : to suffer ruin, defeat, or failure
  • the deal fell through
5 : to commit an immoral act
  • but man willfully misused his God-given freedom and fell into sin
  • —John Hick
; especially : to lose one's chastity
6 a : to move or extend in a downward direction
  • the land falls away to the east
b : subside, abate
  • the wind is falling
c : to decline in quality, activity, or quantity
  • production fell off
d : to lose weight used with off or away
  • The cattle have fallen off badly in the drought.
e : to assume a look of shame, disappointment, or dejection
  • his face fell
f : to decline in financial value or price
  • stocks fell sharply
7 a : to occur at a certain time
  • her birthday falls on a Monday this year
b : to come by chance
  • a job that fell into his hands
c : to come or pass by lot, assignment, or inheritance : devolve
  • it fell to him to break the news
d : to have a certain or proper position, place, or station
  • the accent falls on the second syllable
8 : to come within the limits, scope, or jurisdiction of something
  • this word falls into the class of verbs
9 : to pass suddenly and passively into a state of body or mind or a new state or condition
  • fall asleep
  • fall in love
10 : to set about heartily or actively
  • fell to work
11 : strike, impinge
  • music falling on the ear
transitive verb
: fell 1
fall all over oneself or fall over oneself or fall over backward
: to display great or excessive eagerness
  • Fans were falling all over themselves trying to get the basketball star's autograph.
fall apart
1 : disintegrate
  • The pie was falling apart as I served it.
2 : to succumb to mental or emotional stress : break down
  • She began to fall apart when her son was imprisoned.
fall behind
1 : to lag behind
  • The slower hikers fell behind the group.
2 : to be in arrears
  • He fell behind in his car payments.
fall between two stools
: to fail because of inability to choose between or reconcile two alternative or conflicting courses of action
fall flat
: to produce no response or result
  • the joke fell flat
fall for
1 : to fall in love with
  • He fell for her the moment he saw her.
2 : to become a victim of
  • fell for the trick
fall from grace
: to lose acceptance or good reputation
  • The governor fell from grace when he was accused of tax fraud.
fall home
: to curve inward used of the timbers or upper parts of a ship's side
fall into line
: to comply with a certain course of action
  • The company fell into line with the new regulations.
fall on or fall upon
: to meet with
  • fell on hard times
fall on one's face
: to fail utterly
  • the movie fell on its face at the box office
fall on one's sword
: to sacrifice one's pride or position
  • The coach fell on his sword apologizing for the team's poor season.
fall short
1 : to be deficient
  • The expedition's supplies began to fall short.
2 : to fail to attain something (such as a goal or target)
  • The results fell short of expectations.

Examples of fall in a Sentence

  1. An apple fell from the tree.

  2. A vase fell off the shelf.

  3. Rain fell from the sky.

  4. the sound of the falling rain

  5. She slipped and fell on the ice.

  6. He fell flat on his face.

  7. She was afraid that I would trip and fall.

  8. He fell down the stairs.

  9. One of the sailors had fallen overboard.

  10. He fell back onto the bed.

Recent Examples of fall from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fall.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of fall

Middle English, from Old English feallan; akin to Old High German fallan to fall and perhaps to Lithuanian pulti

2

fall

noun

Definition of fall

1 : the act of falling by the force of gravity
2 a : a falling out, off, or away : dropping
  • the fall of leaves
  • a fall of snow
b : the season when leaves fall from trees : autumn
c : a thing or quantity that falls or has fallen
  • a fall of rock at the base of the cliff
; especially : one or more meteorites or their fragments that have fallen together
d (1) : birth
(2) : the quantity born usually used of lambs
3 a : a costume decoration of lace or thin fabric arranged to hang loosely and gracefully
b : a very wide turned-down collar worn in the 17th century
c : the part of a turnover collar from the crease to the outer edge
d : a wide front flap on trousers (such as those worn by sailors)
e : the freely hanging lower edge of the skirt of a coat
f : one of the three outer and often drooping segments of the flower of an iris
g : long hair overhanging the face of dogs of some breeds
h : a usually long straight portion of hair that is attached to a person's own hair
4 : a hoisting-tackle rope or chain; especially : the part of it to which the power is applied
5 a : loss of greatness : collapse
  • the fall of the Roman Empire
b : the surrender or capture of a besieged place
  • the fall of Troy
c : lapse or departure from innocence or goodness
d : loss of a woman's chastity
e : the blame for a failure or misdeed
  • took the fall for the robbery
6 a : the downward slope (as of a hill) : declivity
b : a precipitous descent of water : waterfall usually used in plural but singular or plural in construction
c : a musical cadence
d : a falling-pitch intonation in speech
7 : a decrease in size, quantity, degree, or value
8 a : the distance which something falls
9 a : the act of felling something
b : the quantity of trees cut down
c (1) : an act of forcing a wrestler's shoulders to the mat for a specified time (such as one second)
(2) : a bout of wrestling
10 Scotland : destiny, lot

Examples of fall in a Sentence

  1. a fall from a horse

  2. She's had several bad falls in recent years.

  3. a fall of three feet

  4. the rise and fall of the tide

  5. She went off to college in the fall.

  6. Several weeks of fall remain before winter begins.

  7. When fall came he planted grass.

  8. a fall in the price of oil

Recent Examples of fall from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fall.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of fall

see 1fall

Other Calendar Terms


3

fall

adjective

Definition of fall

: of, relating to, or suitable for autumn
  • a new fall coat

Recent Examples of fall from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fall.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of fall

see 1fall

FALL Defined for English Language Learners

fall

verb

Definition of fall for English Language Learners

  • : to come or go down quickly from a high place or position

  • : to come or go down suddenly from a standing position

  • : to let yourself come or go down to a lower position


FALL Defined for Kids

1

fall

verb \ ˈfȯl \

Definition of fall for Students

fell \ˈfel\; fallen \ˈfȯ-lən\; falling
1 : to come or go down freely by the force of gravity
  • An apple fell from the tree.
2 : to come as if by falling
  • Night fell before we got home.
3 : to become lower (as in degree or value)
  • The temperature fell ten degrees.
4 : to topple from an upright position
  • The tree fell.
5 : to collapse wounded or dead
  • Too many soldiers have fallen in battle.
6 : to become captured
  • The city fell to the enemy.
7 : to occur at a certain time
  • This year my birthday falls on a Monday.
8 : to pass from one condition of body or mind to another
  • fall asleep
  • fall ill
fall back
: 2retreat 1
  • “… the Witch and her crew will … fall back to her house and prepare for a siege.”
  • —C. S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
fall short
: to fail to be as good or successful as expected
  • The sequel to my favorite movie fell short.

2

fall

noun

Definition of fall for Students

1 : the act or an instance of going or coming down by the force of gravity
  • a fall from a horse
2 : autumn
3 : a thing or quantity that falls
  • a heavy fall of snow
4 : a loss of greatness : downfall
  • the fall of an empire
5 : waterfall usually used in pl.
  • Niagara Falls
6 : a decrease in size, amount, or value
  • a fall in prices
7 : the distance something falls
  • a fall of three feet


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