\ ˈfȯl How to pronounce fall (audio) \
fell\ ˈfel How to pronounce fall (audio) \; fallen\ ˈfȯ-​lən How to pronounce fall (audio) \; falling

Definition of fall

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1a : 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
3a : 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 sense 1a wisdom that fell from his lips
d : to become lowered her eyes fell
4a : 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
6a : 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
7a : 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
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.



Definition of fall (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : the act of falling by the force of gravity
2a : 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
3a : 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 — compare standard sense 8b
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
5a : 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
6a : 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
8a : the distance which something falls
9a : 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



Definition of fall (Entry 3 of 3)

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

Synonyms & Antonyms for fall

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of fall in a Sentence

Verb An apple fell from the tree. A vase fell off the shelf. Rain fell from the sky. the sound of the falling rain She slipped and fell on the ice. He fell flat on his face. She was afraid that I would trip and fall. He fell down the stairs. One of the sailors had fallen overboard. He fell back onto the bed. Noun a fall from a horse She's had several bad falls in recent years. a fall of three feet the rise and fall of the tide She went off to college in the fall. Several weeks of fall remain before winter begins. When fall came he planted grass. a fall in the price of oil See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The lights rise and fall, as cars drive up and down. San Diego Union-Tribune, 3 May 2022 Her shoulders, covered with bolero butterfly sleeves adorned with embroidered sampaguita (the Philippine national flower), rise and fall. Charisma Madarang, Los Angeles Times, 2 May 2022 Sherman is now working on a scripted TV series about Falwell’s rise and fall. Megan K. Stack, The New Yorker, 28 Apr. 2022 Today the Fed, other central banks, and fiscal authorities around the world understand that inflation and unemployment naturally rise or fall together when supply shocks rule the roost. Alan S. Blinder, WSJ, 28 Apr. 2022 In states where mental health and drug treatment programs are centralized at the state level, local providers are at the mercy of state spending -- which can rise or fall from year to year, Walter said. Robert Higgs, cleveland, 16 Apr. 2022 No country is free of money laundering, Kumar said, and depending on several factors – size of the economy, strength of the judicial system, type of government – the risk of money laundering can rise or fall dramatically. Valerie Pavilonis, USA TODAY, 12 Apr. 2022 The tax would rise or fall as prices fluctuate, until prices return to pre-crisis levels. Patrick Gaspard For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 11 Apr. 2022 Memecoins are cryptocurrency tied to viral moments and Internet jokes, with a fleeting value that tends to rise and fall quickly. Washington Post, 6 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The documentary takes viewers behind the scenes of WeWork, examining the quick rise and subsequent fall of the shared office space company. Amy Mackelden, ELLE, 30 Apr. 2022 The panels lean against each other and the wall, appearing to be portals into the waters, their size and placement evoking the rise and fall of the tides. Carol Besler, Robb Report, 27 Apr. 2022 The gangland history is fascinating and seems to be based loosely on the rise and fall of the real-life Patriarca family. Washington Post, 26 Apr. 2022 This season included both expected storylines and total surprises, from the rise and fall of Chrishell Stause and Jason Oppenheim's relationship to Christine Quinn's alleged scheme against Emma Hernan. Quinci Legardye, Harper's BAZAAR, 24 Apr. 2022 Set in an idyllic waterfront town in the Pacific Northwest, the second chapter follows the rise and fall of an intense teenage friendship. Samantha Olson, Seventeen, 22 Apr. 2022 The show charts the rise and fall of founders Adam Neumann, played by Jared Leto, and his wife Rebekah Paltrow Neumann, played by Anne Hathaway. Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 21 Apr. 2022 Apple TV+'s WeCrashed series about the rise and fall of coworking space provider WeWork. Dana Rose Falcone, PEOPLE.com, 21 Apr. 2022 Today, though, the drink has all but nearly vanished, and its rise and fall tells not only its story but that of an entire community. Esra Erol, Bon Appétit, 20 Apr. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The pre-fall Proenza Schouler white square-toe loafer, meanwhile, hits the refresh on polished prep, as does The Row’s Margaret—a slim-line, block-heel iteration. Vogue, 15 Apr. 2022 Keep your eyes peeled on Victoriabeckham.com; the designer’s second dress—a black pre-fall number—will be available to buy in June. Alice Newbold, Glamour, 11 Apr. 2022 Later, Blumarine, which has grown a reputation as a premiere Y2K-revival brand, released a pre-fall 2022 collection that included red, pink, and black chokers, thick necklaces, and big flower attachments. Frances Solá-santiago, refinery29.com, 23 Feb. 2022 The singer wore a long black cardigan with a faux-fur collar from Blumarine's pre-fall 2022 collection. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 22 Feb. 2022 Meanwhile, Blumarine showcased a pre-fall 2022 collection full of red-and-pink looks. Frances Solá-santiago, refinery29.com, 11 Feb. 2022 Harper's Bazaar reports that the dress and outerwear are both from Milan fashion house Del Core's pre-fall 2022 collection, the white heels from Tom Ford, her purse from Aspital of London, jewelry by Pasquale Bruni, and sunglasses from Bulgari. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 7 Feb. 2022 Today my email inbox has more fall race cancellations. Jonathan Beverly, Outside Online, 30 June 2020 The pre-fall collections are rolling in with promises of everything from coats to dresses, suits to separates. Alison S. Cohn, Harper's BAZAAR, 10 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of fall


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1a


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1677, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fall

Verb, Noun, and Adjective

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

Learn More About fall

Time Traveler for fall

Time Traveler

The first known use of fall was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near fall

Falkland Islands



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for fall

Last Updated

6 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fall.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fall. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for fall


\ ˈfȯl How to pronounce fall (audio) \
fell\ ˈfel \; fallen\ ˈfȯ-​lən \; falling

Kids Definition of fall

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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
: retreat entry 2 sense 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.



Kids Definition of fall (Entry 2 of 2)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on fall

Nglish: Translation of fall for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fall for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fall


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!