from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- intransitive v. To prove deficient or lacking; perform ineffectively or inadequately: failed to fulfill their promises; failed in their attempt to reach the summit.
- intransitive v. To be unsuccessful: an experiment that failed.
- intransitive v. To receive an academic grade below the acceptable minimum.
- intransitive v. To prove insufficient in quantity or duration; give out: The water supply failed during the drought.
- intransitive v. To decline, as in strength or effectiveness: The light began to fail.
- intransitive v. To cease functioning properly: The engine failed.
- intransitive v. To give way or be made otherwise useless as a result of excessive strain: The rusted girders failed and caused the bridge to collapse.
- intransitive v. To become bankrupt or insolvent: Their business failed during the last recession.
- transitive v. To disappoint or prove undependable to: Our sentries failed us.
- transitive v. To abandon; forsake: His strength failed him.
- transitive v. To omit to perform (an expected duty, for example): "We must . . . hold . . . those horrors up to the light of justice. Otherwise we would fail our inescapable obligation to the victims of Nazism: to remember” ( Anthony Lewis).
- transitive v. To leave undone; neglect: failed to wash the dishes.
- transitive v. To receive an academic grade below the acceptable minimum in (a course, for example): failed algebra twice.
- transitive v. To give such a grade of failure to (a student): failed me in algebra.
- n. Failure to deliver securities to a purchaser within a specified time.
- n. Failure to receive the proceeds of a transaction, as in the sale of stock or securities, by a specified date.
- idiom without fail With no chance of failure: Be here at noon without fail.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- v. To be unsuccessful.
- v. Not to achieve a particular stated goal. (Usage note: The direct object of this word is usually an infinitive.)
- v. To neglect.
- v. To cease to operate correctly.
- v. To be wanting to, to be insufficient for, to disappoint, to desert.
- v. To receive one or more non-passing grades in academic pursuits.
- v. To give a student a non-passing grade in an academic endeavour.
- n. A failure (condition of being unsuccessful)
- n. A failure (something incapable of success)
- n. A failure, especially of a financial transaction (a termination of an action).
- n. A failing grade in an academic examination.
- adj. That is a failure.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- intransitive v. 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 v. To be affected with want; to come short; to lack; to be deficient or unprovided; -- used with of.
- intransitive v. To fall away; to become diminished; to decline; to decay; to sink.
- intransitive v. To deteriorate in respect to vigor, activity, resources, etc.; to become weaker.
- intransitive v. To perish; to die; -- used of a person.
- intransitive v. 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 v. To come short of a result or object aimed at or desired ; to be baffled or frusrated.
- intransitive v. To err in judgment; to be mistaken.
- intransitive v. 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 v. To be wanting to ; to be insufficient for; to disappoint; to desert.
- transitive v. To miss of attaining; to lose.
- n. Miscarriage; failure; deficiency; fault; -- mostly superseded by failure or failing, except in the phrase without fail.
- n. Death; decease.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- 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 fail an appointment.
- To come short of; miss; lack.
- To deceive; delude; mislead.
- n. Lack; absence or cessation.
- n. Failure; deficiency: now only in the phrase without fail (which see, below).
- n. A failure, failing, or fault.
- n. A piece cut off from the rest of the sward; a turf; a sod.
- n. A woman's upper garment. Halliwell. See faille.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- v. disappoint, prove undependable to; abandon, forsake
- v. be unsuccessful
- v. stop operating or functioning
- v. become bankrupt or insolvent; fail financially and close
- v. fail to do something; leave something undone
- v. fall short in what is expected
- v. prove insufficient
- v. judge unacceptable
- v. get worse
- v. be unable
- v. fail to get a passing grade
Middle English failen, from Old French faillir, from Vulgar Latin *fallīre, variant of Latin fallere, to deceive.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English, from Old French faillir, from Latin fallere ("to deceive, disappoint"). (Wiktionary)