from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.
- intransitive verb To prove deficient or lacking; perform ineffectively or inadequately.
- intransitive verb To be unsuccessful.
- intransitive verb To be unsuccessful in being acted upon.
- intransitive verb To receive an academic grade below the acceptable minimum.
- intransitive verb To prove insufficient in quantity or duration; give out.
- intransitive verb To decline, as in strength or effectiveness.
- intransitive verb To cease functioning properly.
- intransitive verb To give way or be made otherwise useless as a result of excessive strain.
- intransitive verb To become bankrupt or insolvent.
- intransitive verb To disappoint or prove undependable to.
- intransitive verb To abandon; forsake.
- intransitive verb To omit to perform (an expected duty, for example).
- intransitive verb To leave undone; neglect.
- intransitive verb To receive an academic grade below the acceptable minimum in (a course, for example).
- intransitive verb To give such a grade of failure to (a student).
- intransitive verb To be detected by (a drug test) as having used a banned substance.
- noun A failing grade.
- idiom (without fail) With no chance of failure.
from The Century Dictionary.
- noun Lack; absence or cessation.
- noun Failure; deficiency: now only in the phrase without fail (which see, below).
- noun A failure, failing, or fault.
- noun A woman's upper garment. Halliwell. See
- To be or become deficient or lacking, as something expected or desired; fall short, cease, disappear, or be wanting, either wholly or partially; be insufficient or absent: as, the stream fails in summer; our supplies failed.
- To decline; sink; grow faint; become weaker.
- To come short or be wanting in action, detail, or result; disappoint or prove lacking in what is attempted, expected, desired, or approved: often followed by an infinitive or by of or in: as, he failed to come; the experiment failed of success; he fails in duty; the portrait fails in expression.
- To become unable to meet one's engagements, especially one's debts or business obligations; become insolvent or bankrupt.
- =Syn, 1. To fall short, come short, give out.
- To wane, fade, weaken.
- To come to naught, prove abortive.
- To break, suspend payment.
- To be wanting to; disappoint; desert; leave in the lurch.
- To omit; leave unbestowed or unperformed; neglect to keep or observe: as, to
- To come short of; miss; lack.
- To deceive; delude; mislead.
- noun A piece cut off from the rest of the sward; a turf; a sod.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.
- intransitive verb To be wanting; to fall short; to be or become deficient in any measure or degree up to total absence; to cease to be furnished in the usual or expected manner, or to be altogether cut off from supply; to be lacking
- intransitive verb To be affected with want; to come short; to lack; to be deficient or unprovided; -- used with
- intransitive verb To fall away; to become diminished; to decline; to decay; to sink.
- intransitive verb To deteriorate in respect to vigor, activity, resources, etc.; to become weaker.
- intransitive verb obsolete To perish; to die; -- used of a person.
- intransitive verb To be found wanting with respect to an action or a duty to be performed, a result to be secured, etc.; to miss; not to fulfill expectation.
- intransitive verb To come short of a result or object aimed at or desired ; to be baffled or frusrated.
- intransitive verb To err in judgment; to be mistaken.
- intransitive verb To become unable to meet one's engagements; especially, to be unable to pay one's debts or discharge one's business obligation; to become bankrupt or insolvent.
- transitive verb To be wanting to ; to be insufficient for; to disappoint; to desert.
- transitive verb rare To miss of attaining; to lose.
- noun Miscarriage; failure; deficiency; fault; -- mostly superseded by
failureor failing, except in the phrase without fail.
- noun obsolete Death; decease.
from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word fail.
'You can't fail,' she said, '_I won't let you fail_!'
[Illustration: "And he," she said, "has still a chance if -- I fail you?"] "Of course -- if you _fail_ me."
We shall not fail -- if we stand firm, we _shall not fail_.
Moreover, see whether the term fail to be used in the same relation both when called by the name of its genus, and also when called by those of all the genera of its genus.
Q: You say that one way to fail is to quit taking risks.
Q: You often warn that one way to fail is to love your bureaucracy.
Notice, once again, how the instinct of the Republic party types who want Obama to fail is to make ‘gotcha’ points that might sound clever but are actually completely wrongheaded.
Matthew Yglesias » Senator Ensign Thinks States Can Cut Back Without Cutting Anything Back
Should I draw the moral that sometimes to fail is to succeed?
“King of Rome,” put an end to the fond hopes of the Italians, who had been taught by Napoleon to expect that, after his death, their country should possess a government separate from France; nor could the same title fail to excite some bitter feelings in the Austrian court, whose heir-apparent under the old empire had been styled commonly “The King of the Romans.”
Marc Ventresca, a lecturer in strategy and innovation at Oxford University's Saïd Business School , and an expert in what he calls the "fail early, fail often" world of Silicon Valley tech start-ups.
kalli commented on the word fail
Now popularly combined with epic.
November 26, 2007
vanishedone commented on the word fail
Slate: 'What's with all the failing lately? Why fail instead of failure? Why FAIL instead of fail? And why, for that matter, does it have to be epic?
'It's nearly impossible to pinpoint the first reference, given how common the verb fail is, but online commenters suggest it started with a 1998 Neo Geo arcade game called Blazing Star. (References to the fail meme go as far back as 2003.) Of all the game's obvious draws—among them fast-paced action, disco music, and anime-style cut scenes—its staying power comes from its wonderfully terrible Japanese-to-English translations. If you beat a level, the screen flashes with the words: "You beat it! Your skill is great!" If you lose, you are mocked: "You fail it! Your skill is not enough! See you next time! Bye bye!"'
October 22, 2008
bilby commented on the word fail
June 6, 2009
mollusque commented on the word fail
June 6, 2009
reesetee commented on the word fail
June 7, 2009
chained_bear commented on the word fail
HA HA ha ha hahhhhh!!! I love that. :) There's really no other word for it than "fail," is there?
June 8, 2009
jfk commented on the word fail
Epic Cat Fail
June 8, 2009
chained_bear commented on the word fail
July 27, 2009
knyx commented on the word fail
I detest this word, especially when used as a noun, paired with epic or written in all uppercase letters.
December 21, 2011