fall·​out | \ ˈfȯl-ˌau̇t How to pronounce fallout (audio) \

Definition of fallout

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the often radioactive particles stirred up by or resulting from a nuclear explosion and descending through the atmosphere also : other polluting particles (such as volcanic ash) descending likewise
b : descent (as of fallout) through the atmosphere
2 : a secondary and often lingering effect, result, or set of consequences have to take a position and accept the political fallout— Andy Logan

fall out

fell out; fallen out; falling out; falls out

Definition of fall out (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : quarrel also : to cut off relations over a quarrel former friends who have fallen out
2 : turn out, happen expected to be in the States …  , but things fell out otherwise— Mark Twain
3a : to leave one's place in the ranks
b : to leave a building in order to take one's place in a military formation

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Examples of fallout in a Sentence

Noun concerned about the possible political fallout from the scandal Verb club members were soon falling out about how to spend the money they'd made washing cars I had planned to have a sports career, but things fell out otherwise.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun So to use a football term, President Trump and Republicans have beaten the spread on surviving the initial political fallout of all of this. NBC News, "Meet the Press - December 1, 2019," 1 Dec. 2019 Youth movements are reenergizing paralyzed debates among adults with fresh perspectives, inconvenient questions, and the rhetorical power of having to live with the long-term fallout of our short-term thinking. Wired, "AI Innovators Should Be Listening to Kids," 26 Nov. 2019 The fallout from Prince Andrew's ill-received BBC interview about Jeffrey Epstein continues this week, according to the Times. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth Reportedly Cancelled Prince Andrew's 60th Birthday Party," 25 Nov. 2019 Just two seasons ago, the Gators experienced the fallout of their own mid-season coaching change. Edgar Thompson, orlandosentinel.com, "Gators have no sympathy for FSU coping with coaching change," 20 Nov. 2019 Building connections McNair said a push to improve the environmental conditions at Lakeview Terrace coincided with efforts to address the fallout of a nearly 80-year-old mistake: walling off the housing complex from the rest of the neighborhood. Rachel Dissell, cleveland, "‘A once-in-a-generation opportunity:’ Could Whiskey Island truck traffic plan fix an environmental injustice for Lakeview Terrace residents?," 12 Nov. 2019 The day after long-time Cincinnati Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton was benched and star receiver A.J. Green wasn't traded, both players discussed the fallout of those decisions. Dave Clark, Cincinnati.com, "A.J. Green 'knows' Cincinnati Bengals wouldn't be 0-8 if he'd been available," 30 Oct. 2019 Fisher Investments lost another $500 million in funds Monday as the fallout continued from vulgar comments by the Camas firm’s chairman. Mike Rogoway, oregonlive, "Exodus from Fisher Investments nears $1.7 billion as Fidelity severs ties," 21 Oct. 2019 The rift between the NBA and China appeared to widen again Friday, as the fallout over Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey's tweet in support of anti-government protesters in Hong Kong continued. Tim Reynolds, Houston Chronicle, "China denies asking for Rockets GM Daryl Morey's firing over Hong Kong tweet," 18 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fallout.' 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 fallout


1946, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for fallout

Time Traveler

The first known use of fallout was in the 15th century

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Statistics for fallout

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Fallout.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fall%20out. Accessed 8 December 2019.

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More Definitions for fallout


How to pronounce fall out (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fallout

: the radioactive particles that are produced by a nuclear explosion and that fall through the atmosphere
: a bad effect or result of something


fall·​out | \ ˈfȯl-ˌau̇t How to pronounce fallout (audio) \

Kids Definition of fallout

1 : the usually radioactive particles falling through the atmosphere as a result of a nuclear explosion
2 : the bad result of something He suffered the fallout from his poor decision.


fall·​out | \ ˈfȯ-ˌlau̇t How to pronounce fallout (audio) \

Medical Definition of fallout

1 : the often radioactive particles stirred up by or resulting from a nuclear explosion and descending through the atmosphere also : other polluting particles (as volcanic ash) descending likewise
2 : descent (as of fallout) through the atmosphere

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More from Merriam-Webster on fallout

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fallout

Spanish Central: Translation of fallout

Nglish: Translation of fallout for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fallout for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fallout

Comments on fallout

What made you want to look up fallout? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to constrict the range or activity of

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