Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To drop or come down freely under the influence of gravity.
  • intransitive v. To drop oneself to a lower or less erect position: I fell back in my chair. The pilgrims fell to their knees.
  • intransitive v. To lose an upright or erect position suddenly.
  • intransitive v. To drop wounded or dead, especially in battle.
  • intransitive v. To go or come as if by falling: All grief fell from our hearts. Night fell quickly.
  • intransitive v. To come to rest; settle: The light fell on my book.
  • intransitive v. To hang down: The child's hair fell in ringlets.
  • intransitive v. To be cast down: Her eyes fell.
  • intransitive v. To assume an expression of consternation or disappointment: His face fell when he heard the report.
  • intransitive v. To undergo conquest or capture, especially as the result of an armed attack: The city fell after a long siege.
  • intransitive v. To experience defeat or ruin: After 300 years the dynasty fell.
  • intransitive v. To lose office: The disgraced prime minister fell from power.
  • intransitive v. To slope downward: The rolling hills fall gently toward the coast.
  • intransitive v. To lessen in amount or degree: The air pressure is falling.
  • intransitive v. To decline in financial value: Last year, stocks fell sharply.
  • intransitive v. To diminish in pitch or volume: My friend's voice fell to a whisper.
  • intransitive v. To give in to temptation; sin.
  • intransitive v. Theology To lose primordial innocence and happiness. Used of humanity as a result of the Fall.
  • intransitive v. To lose one's chastity.
  • intransitive v. To pass into a particular state, condition, or situation: fell silent; fall in love.
  • intransitive v. To occur at a specified time: New Year's Day falls on a Tuesday this year.
  • intransitive v. To occur at a specified place: The stress falls on the last syllable.
  • intransitive v. To come, as by chance: fell among a band of thieves; a thought that fell into his mind.
  • intransitive v. To be given by assignment or distribution: The greatest task fell to me.
  • intransitive v. To be given by right or inheritance.
  • intransitive v. To be included within the range or scope of something: The specimens fall into three categories.
  • intransitive v. To come into contact; strike: My gaze fell on a small book in the corner.
  • intransitive v. To come out; issue: Insincere compliments fell from their lips.
  • intransitive v. To apply oneself: fell to work immediately.
  • intransitive v. To be born. Used chiefly of lambs.
  • transitive v. To cut down (a tree); fell.
  • n. The act or an instance of falling.
  • n. A sudden drop from a relatively erect to a less erect position.
  • n. Something that has fallen: a fall of hail.
  • n. An amount that has fallen: a fall of two inches of rain.
  • n. The distance that something falls: The victim suffered a fall of three stories to the ground.
  • n. Autumn.
  • n. A waterfall.
  • n. A downward movement or slope.
  • n. Any of several pendent articles of dress, especially:
  • n. A veil hung from a woman's hat and down her back.
  • n. An ornamental cascade of lace or trimming attached to a dress, usually at the collar.
  • n. A woman's hairpiece with long, free-hanging hair.
  • n. An overthrow; a collapse: the fall of a government.
  • n. Armed capture of a place under siege: the fall of Troy.
  • n. A reduction in value, amount, or degree.
  • n. A marked, often sudden, decline in status, rank, or importance: "turned them in, set them up for prosecution; positioned them, as it were, for the fall” ( Joan Didion).
  • n. A moral lapse.
  • n. A loss of chastity.
  • n. Theology The loss of humanity's original innocence and happiness resulting from Adam and Eve's eating of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden.
  • n. Sports The act of holding a wrestling opponent on his or her back so that the shoulders remain in contact with the mat for a designated period, usually one or two seconds, thereby winning the match. Also called pin.
  • n. Sports Any of various wrestling maneuvers resulting in such an act.
  • n. Nautical A break or rise in the level of a deck.
  • n. Nautical The apparatus used to hoist and transfer cargo or lifeboats.
  • n. The end of a cable, rope, or chain that is pulled by the power source in hoisting.
  • n. The birth of an animal, especially a lamb.
  • n. All the animals born at one birth; a litter.
  • n. A family of woodcock in flight. See Synonyms at flock1.
  • n. Botany The outer series of perianth in the irises and related plants.
  • adj. Of, having to do with, occurring in, or appropriate to the season of fall: fall fashion; fall harvests.
  • adj. Grown during the season of fall: fall crops.
  • fall apart To break down; collapse: The rickety chair fell apart.
  • fall apart To suffer a nervous breakdown: He fell apart after years as a POW.
  • fall away To withdraw one's friendship and support.
  • fall away To become gradually diminished in size.
  • fall away To drift off an established course.
  • fall away To lose weight.
  • fall back To give ground; retreat.
  • fall back To recede: The waves fell back.
  • fall behind To fail to keep up a pace; lag behind.
  • fall behind To be financially in arrears.
  • fall down To fail to meet expectations; lag in performance: fell down on the job.
  • fall for To feel love for; be in love with.
  • fall for To be deceived or swindled by: fell for the con artist's scheme and lost $200,000.
  • fall in To take one's place in a military formation.
  • fall in To sink inward; cave in: The roof of the old barn fell in.
  • fall off To become less; decrease: Stock prices have fallen off. The number of staff meetings fell off after a few months.
  • fall off To lose weight: Toward the end of the dry season, the cattle fall off rapidly.
  • fall off Nautical To change course to leeward.
  • on To attack suddenly and viciously: Snipers and irregulars fell on the hapless patrol.
  • on To meet with; encounter: a stockbroker who fell on hard times.
  • fall out To leave a barracks, for example, in order to take one's place in a military formation.
  • fall out To leave a military formation.
  • fall out To quarrel: The siblings fell out over their inheritance.
  • fall out To happen; occur.
  • fall out To be readily explainable; follow logically or naturally: These facts fall out nicely from the new theory.
  • fall through To fail; miscarry: Our plans fell through at the last minute.
  • fall to To begin an activity energetically: "The press fell to with a will” ( Russell Baker).
  • idiom on To rely on: fall back on old friends in time of need.
  • idiom on To resort to: I had to fall back on my savings when I was unemployed.
  • idiom fall between (the) two stools To fail because of an inability to reconcile or choose between two courses of action.
  • idiom fall flat To fail miserably when attempting to achieve a result.
  • idiom fall flat To have no effect: The jokes fell flat.
  • idiom foul Nautical To collide. Used of vessels.
  • idiom foul To clash: fell foul of the law.
  • idiom fall from grace To experience a major reduction in status or prestige.
  • idiom fall into line To adhere to established rules or predetermined courses of action.
  • idiom fall in with To agree with or be in harmony with: Their views fall in with ours.
  • idiom fall in with To associate or begin to associate with: fell in with the wrong crowd.
  • idiom fall on deaf ears To go unheeded; be ignored completely: "Moscow's own familiar charges . . . will also fall on deaf ears” ( Foreign Affairs).
  • idiom backward To overexert oneself to do or accomplish something: We fell over backward to complete the project on time.
  • idiom fall over (oneself) To display inordinate, typically effusive, enthusiasm: fell over themselves to impress the general's wife.
  • idiom fall prey to To be put into such a vulnerable position as to be at risk of harm, destruction, or invasion: a person who fell prey to swindlers; did not want the country to fall prey to terrorists.
  • idiom fall short To fail to attain a specified amount, level, or degree: an athlete whose skill fell far short of expectations.
  • idiom fall short To prove inadequate: Food supplies fell short.
  • idiom fall through the cracks To pass unnoticed, neglected, or unchecked: "In the past, many learning disabled children fell through the cracks” ( Judith Harkness Richardson).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To move to a lower position under the effect of gravity.
  • v. To come down, to drop or descend.
  • v. To come to the ground deliberately, to prostrate oneself.
  • v. To be brought to the ground.
  • v. To collapse; to be overthrown or defeated.
  • v. To die, especially in battle.
  • v. To be allotted to; to arrive through chance or fate.
  • v. To become lower (in quantity, pitch, etc).
  • v. To become; to be affected by or befallen with a calamity; to change into the state described by words following; to become prostrated literally or figuratively (see Usage notes below).
  • v. To become.
  • n. The act of moving in a fluid or vacuum under the effect of gravity to a lower position.
  • n. A reduction in quantity, pitch, etc.
  • n. autumn.
  • n. A loss of greatness or status.
  • n. The action of a batsman being out.
  • n. A defect in the ice which causes stones thrown into an area to drift in a given direction
  • n. An instance of a wrestler being pinned to the mat.
  • n. Blame or punishment for a failure or misdeed.
  • n. The part of the rope of a tackle to which the power is applied in hoisting.
  • n. See falls

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of falling; a dropping or descending be the force of gravity; descent.
  • n. The act of dropping or tumbling from an erect posture.
  • n. Death; destruction; overthrow; ruin.
  • n. Downfall; degradation; loss of greatness or office; termination of greatness, power, or dominion; ruin; overthrow.
  • n. The surrender of a besieged fortress or town .
  • n. Diminution or decrease in price or value; depreciation
  • n. A sinking of tone; cadence.
  • n. Declivity; the descent of land or a hill; a slope.
  • n. Descent of water; a cascade; a cataract; a rush of water down a precipice or steep; -- usually in the plural, sometimes in the singular.
  • n. The discharge of a river or current of water into the ocean, or into a lake or pond.
  • n. Extent of descent; the distance which anything falls.
  • n. The season when leaves fall from trees; autumn.
  • n. That which falls; a falling
  • n. The act of felling or cutting down.
  • n. Lapse or declension from innocence or goodness. Specifically: The first apostasy; the act of our first parents in eating the forbidden fruit; also, the apostasy of the rebellious angels.
  • n. Formerly, a kind of ruff or band for the neck; a falling band; a faule.
  • n. That part (as one of the ropes) of a tackle to which the power is applied in hoisting.
  • intransitive v. To Descend, either suddenly or gradually; particularly, to descend by the force of gravity; to drop; to sink
  • intransitive v. To cease to be erect; to take suddenly a recumbent posture; to become prostrate; to drop
  • intransitive v. To find a final outlet; to discharge its waters; to empty; -- with into.
  • intransitive v. To become prostrate and dead; to die; especially, to die by violence, as in battle.
  • intransitive v. To cease to be active or strong; to die away; to lose strength; to subside; to become less intense.
  • intransitive v. To issue forth into life; to be brought forth; -- said of the young of certain animals.
  • intransitive v. To decline in power, glory, wealth, or importance; to become insignificant; to lose rank or position; to decline in weight, value, price etc.; to become less
  • intransitive v. To be overthrown or captured; to be destroyed.
  • intransitive v. To descend in character or reputation; to become degraded; to sink into vice, error, or sin; to depart from the faith; to apostatize; to sin.
  • intransitive v. To become insnared or embarrassed; to be entrapped; to be worse off than before.
  • intransitive v. To assume a look of shame or disappointment; to become or appear dejected; -- said of the countenance.
  • intransitive v. To sink; to languish; to become feeble or faint.
  • intransitive v. To pass somewhat suddenly, and passively, into a new state of body or mind; to become
  • intransitive v. To happen; to to come to pass; to light; to befall; to issue; to terminate.
  • intransitive v. To come; to occur; to arrive.
  • intransitive v. To begin with haste, ardor, or vehemence; to rush or hurry.
  • intransitive v. To pass or be transferred by chance, lot, distribution, inheritance, or otherwise
  • intransitive v. To belong or appertain.
  • intransitive v. To be dropped or uttered carelessly
  • transitive v. To let fall; to drop.
  • transitive v. To sink; to depress.
  • transitive v. To diminish; to lessen or lower.
  • transitive v. To bring forth.
  • transitive v. To fell; to cut down.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To descend from a higher to a lower place or position through loss or lack of support; drop down by or as by the power of gravity, or by impulse; come down by tumbling or loss of balance, or by force of a push, cast, stroke, or thrust: as, meteors fall to the earth; water falls over a dam; the mantle fell from his shoulders; the blow fell with crushing force.
  • To sink from a higher to a lower level; be or become lower; settle or sink down; go down; pass off or away; ebb: as, the river is falling (that is, becoming lower from diminution of the volume of water); the thermometer falls (that is, the mercury sinks in the tube); the ground rises and falls (apparently, to one viewing or passing over it, from inequality of surface, or actually, from an earthquake); the dew falls (according to popular belief).
  • To descend from a higher, or more perfect, or more intense, etc., state or grade to one that is lower, or less perfect, etc.; deteriorate; sink or decrease in amount, condition, estimation, character, etc.; become degraded or be reduced in any way, as through loss, misfortune, persecution, misconduct, etc.: as, prices have fallen; the city fell into bankruptcy; to fall into poverty, disgrace, apostasy, bondage, etc.; to fall from grace or favor; to fall from allegiance; to fall into bad company.
  • To come down as from a fixed or standing position; be overthrown or prostrated; hence, to be slain; perish; come to ruin or destruction.
  • To pass into a new state or condition; enter upon a different state of being, action, or feeling; come to be, or to be engaged or fixed: as, to fall heir to an estate; to fall a victim; to fall asleep, ill, in love, etc.; to fall calm, as the wind; to fall into a snare, into a rage, etc.; the troops fell into line.
  • To pass away or off; discharge its contents; disembogue, as a river: as, the Rhone falls into the Mediterranean; the Ohio falls into the Mississippi.
  • To pass or come as if by falling or dropping; move, lapse, settle, or become fixed, with reference to an object or to a state or relation: as, the castle falls to his brother; misfortune fell to his lot; the subject falls under this head.
  • To come to pass or to an issue; befall; happen.
  • To come by chance or unexpectedly.
  • To be dropped in birth; be brought forth or born: now used only of lambs and some other young animals.
  • To hang; droop; be arranged or disposed like the pendent folds of a curtain or garment.
  • To be fit or meet.
  • To be required or necessary; be appropriate or suitable to a subject or an occasion.
  • To decline gradually; languish or become faint; fade; perish.
  • To renounce or desert allegiance, faith, or duty; apostatize; backslide.
  • To have recourse: followed by upon, and referring usually to some support or expedient already once tried.
  • To fail of performing a promise or purpose.
  • To prostrate one's self, as in worship or supplication.
  • Nautical, to sail or pass toward the mouth of a river or other outlet; drop down.
  • In ship carpentry, to incline inward from the perpendicular: said of the top sides of a ship: same as to tumble home (which see, under tumble).
  • To come to an end; terminate; lapse: as, an annuity which falls in when the annuitant dies.
  • To bend or sink inward.
  • To sink or become lean or hollow: as, her cheeks have fallen in.
  • To concur or accord with; comply with; be agreeable or favorable to: as, to fall in with one's assertions; the measure falls in with popular demands.
  • To perish; die away; become disused: as, the custom fell off.
  • To become depreciated; decline from former excellence; become less valuable or interesting; decrease: as, the subscriptions fall off; the public interest is falling off.
  • Nautical, to deviate from the course to which the head of the ship was before directed; fall to leeward.
  • To begin an attack.
  • [On, prep.] To assault; assail.
  • To come upon, usually with some degree of suddenness and unexpectedness; descend upon.
  • To light upon; come upon; discover.
  • To happen; befall; chance.
  • Nautical, to fall into the wrong place: the opposite of to fall home.

Etymologies

Middle English fallen, from Old English feallan.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English fallen, from Old English feallan ("to fall, fail, decay, die, attack"), from Proto-Germanic *fallanan (“to fall”), from Proto-Indo-European *pōl-, *spōl- (“to fall”). Cognate with West Frisian falle ("to fall"), Dutch vallen ("to fall"), German fallen ("to fall"), Icelandic falla ("to fall"), Lithuanian pùlti, Ancient Greek σφάλλω (sphállō, "bring down, destroy, cause to stumble, deceive"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • To pass into a new state or condition;
    enter upon a different state of
    being, action, or feeling;

    come to be, or to be engaged
    or fixed: as,
    to fall heir to an estate;

    to fall a victim;
    to fall asleep,
    ill, in love, etc.;

    to fall calm, as the wind;
    to fall into a snare,
    into a rage, etc.;

    the troops fell into line.

    --CD&C

    May 24, 2012

  • "Fall leaves after leaves fall."

    July 8, 2007