failed; failing; fails
: to lose strength : weaken
her health was failing
: to fade or die away
until our family line fails
: to stop functioning normally
the patient's heart failed
: to fall short
failed in his duty
: to be or become absent or inadequate
the water supply failed
: to be unsuccessful
the marriage failed
specifically : to be unsuccessful in achieving a passing grade
took the exam and failed
: to become bankrupt or insolvent
banks were failing
: to disappoint the expectations or trust of
her friends failed her
: to miss performing an expected service or function for
his wit failed him
: to be unsuccessful in passing
: to grade (someone, such as a student) as not passing
The teacher failed only his two worst students.
Verb He failed in his first attempt but succeeded in his second attempt. His first company failed, but his second company succeeded. He felt that he had failed her when she needed him most. The government has failed the voters.
Recent Examples on the Web
VerbStacy Thompson, executive director of LivableStreets Alliance, said that if the T failed to meet the FTA’s requirements, federal regulators wouldn’t likely make a move that could shut down service. —John Hilliard, BostonGlobe.com, 31 May 2023 Matthew Colangelo, a senior counsel to Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg, urged Hellerstein to keep the case as is, arguing in court papers Tuesday that Trump’s lawyers had failed to meet a high legal bar. —Michael R. Sisak, Anchorage Daily News, 31 May 2023 But the Turkish president is skilled at outmaneuvering his adversaries, not least Kilicdaroglu, who is likely at the end of the road of his political career after failing yet again to dethrone Erdogan. —Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 30 May 2023 Christine Oh, 48, of the 4500 block of Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood, was arrested May 25 for driving under the influence of alcohol, improper traffic lane use, obstructing the driver’s view and failing to carry or display a driver’s license, police said. —Chicago Tribune, 30 May 2023 Boston was just the fourth team to force a Game 7 in such circumstances but failed to make history. —Jeff Zillgitt, USA TODAY, 30 May 2023 The original version of TARP was failing on the House floor. —Chad Pergram, Fox News, 30 May 2023 Netflix’s 10-part series follows strangers Danny Cho (Steven Yeun) as a failing contractor, and Amy Lau (Wong), a successful entrepreneur. —Jazz Tangcay, Variety, 30 May 2023 The agency’s director was held in contempt of court 12 times last year for failing to provide an appropriate placement for foster children. —Kathryn Hurd, Los Angeles Times, 28 May 2023
NounIf the first five fail but the next five succeed, which is a better outcome? —Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 20 Apr. 2023 Every year, no fail! —Korin Miller, Women's Health, 21 Apr. 2023 That was an epic fail. —Bill Kearney, Sun Sentinel, 6 Apr. 2023 Or perhaps listening is the big fail. —Courtland Milloy, Washington Post, 8 Mar. 2023 Some thought this looked like a fail. —David Hambling, Forbes, 8 June 2022 And without fail, attendees show up in their best outfits. —Jamila Stewart, Vogue, 11 Feb. 2023 Touchscreen gloves are easy to find, but scoring a pair that keep hands warm and aren’t a total fail for functionality is another matter entirely. —Danny Perez, Popular Mechanics, 18 Nov. 2022 In other words, a score of 96 could be a fail if those four points represent one of the four-point violations such as improper temperatures for potentially hazardous food or the lack of accessibility to sinks. —Pam Mcloughlin, Hartford Courant, 28 Feb. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fail.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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