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 That salary hit would have been fairly steep in a 2022 season when the NFL’s salary cap will be recovering still from the COVID-19 pandemic fallout on 2020 league revenue. Dallas News, "Cowboys decline fifth-year option on LB Leighton Vander Esch’s contract," 3 May 2021 The comments from attorney Eugene Iredale are the latest fallout in the aftermath of the death of Angel Zapata Hernandez, 24, on Oct. 15, 2019. Greg Moran, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Lawyer: San Diego police were present when MTS officers pinned man to ground, held a knee to his neck," 29 Apr. 2021 The law, which was passed by Republicans in the fallout of the 2020 presidential election, soon became a lightning rod of activism. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Investors fret as corporate activism overtakes shareholder prioritization," 28 Apr. 2021 Ohio - Read the latest coronavirus news from around the world, get updates on fallout from US sanctions on Russia and see more stories trending online today. Mike Rose, cleveland, "US-Russia tensions, coronavirus updates & more: What’s trending today," 16 Apr. 2021 The Covid-19 pandemic and climate change have led to catastrophic fallout on a global scale, necessitating cross-border cooperation. Eva Rothenberg And Drew Kann, CNN, "'In the end, everything is about equity': How experts say the pandemic could invigorate climate change action," 13 Apr. 2021 Both are now looking to sue the U. for mistreatment in the fallout of Lauren McCluskey's case. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Former police chief and officer who showed explicit photos of Lauren McCluskey seek $10M from University of Utah," 13 Apr. 2021 The 96-page lawsuit names Mayor Lovely Warren and former Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, who was fired in the fallout from Prude’s death. NBC News, "Federal lawsuit alleges years of brutality by Rochester police," 6 Apr. 2021 Your Lie in April expresses the fallout of traumatic loss on children with tremendous empathy, at times dropping dialogue almost entirely and using classical music and colorfully abstract animation to convey Kousei’s inner feelings. Eric Vilas-boas, Vulture, "The 50 Best Anime Series on Netflix Right Now," 5 Apr. 2021

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

12 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fallout.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fallout. Accessed 13 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for fallout



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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