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 Pinkney retired in August 2019, amid fallout from inmate deaths at the jail and a related criminal investigation. Courtney Astolfi, cleveland, "Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish’s administration is hemorrhaging talent it spent millions to acquire and keep," 31 Mar. 2021 Meanwhile, two top executives at the Loretto Hospital on Chicago’s West Side have been reprimanded amid fallout over their roles in the mishandling of coronavirus vaccinations, the medical center’s board of directors disclosed in a statement Friday. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Coronavirus in Illinois updates: Here’s what’s happening this weekend with COVID-19 in the Chicago area," 20 Mar. 2021 The New York governor appeared to have one high-profile ally standing by him amid the fallout. Carly Roman, Washington Examiner, "Cuomo accuser claims governor has 'preoccupation with his hand size' in first meeting with investigators," 15 Mar. 2021 Congress has just passed the American Rescue Plan, aiming to provide urgent relief to people and businesses amid the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Donna M. Owens, Essence, "Congress Passes President Biden’s American Rescue Plan," 10 Mar. 2021 The latest accusations come amid ongoing national fallout from the suit that also alleged Dr. Esther Choo was among OHSU officials who failed to report the social worker’s misconduct complaint against Campbell. oregonlive, "2 more women allege TikTok Doc forced his body against them from behind while at OHSU," 8 Mar. 2021 Administration officials are casting their strategy as a central component of their plan to revive the economy amid the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. Andrew Restuccia, WSJ, "Biden Team Races to Assemble New Climate-Change Strategy," 8 Mar. 2021 Some state lawmakers in his own party are pushing to strip his sweeping emergency powers during the pandemic amid the fallout. Rick Klein, ABC News, "CPAC poised to score 1 for Trump in GOP civil war: The Note," 26 Feb. 2021 Hunger relief programs expect the higher levels of need will continue through 2021 and possibly for years to come amid the economic fallout of the pandemic. Kelly Smith, Star Tribune, "Twin Cities food drives find new ways to reach needy families," 30 Jan. 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

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fallout.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fallout. Accessed 16 Apr. 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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