I. verb Etymology: Middle English failen, from Anglo-French faillir, from Vulgar Latin *fallire, alteration of Latin fallere to deceive, disappoint Date: 13th century intransitive verb 1. a. to lose strength ; weaken <
her health was failing
b. to fade or die away <
until our family line fails
c. to stop functioning normally <
the patient's heart failed
2. a. to fall short <
failed in his duty
b. to be or become absent or inadequate <
the water supply failed
c. to be unsuccessful <
the marriage failed
; specifically to be unsuccessful in achieving a passing grade <
took the exam and failed
d. to become bankrupt or insolvent transitive verb 1. a. to disappoint the expectations or trust of <
her friends failed her
b. to miss performing an expected service or function for <
his wit failed him
2. to be deficient in ; lack <
never failed an invincible courage — Douglas MacArthur
3. to leave undone ; neglect <
fail to lock the door
4. a. to be unsuccessful in passing <
failed chemistry
b. to grade (as a student) as not passing • failingly adverb II. noun Date: 13th century 1. failure — usually used in the phrase without fail 2. a failure (as by a security dealer) to deliver or receive securities within a prescribed period after purchase or sale

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • Fail — (f[=a]l) v. i. [imp. & p. p. {Failed} (f[=a]ld); p. pr. & vb. n. {Failing}.] [F. failir, fr. L. fallere, falsum, to deceive, akin to E. fall. See {Fail}, and cf. {Fallacy}, {False}, {Fault}.] 1. To be wanting; to fall short; to be or become… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Fail — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Fail Freguesia de Portugal …   Wikipedia Español

  • fail — fail·ing·ly; fail; fail·ure; jeo·fail; un·fail·ing; un·fail·ing·ly; un·fail·ing·ness; …   English syllables

  • Fail — Fail, n. [OF. faille, from failir. See {Fail}, v. i.] 1. Miscarriage; failure; deficiency; fault; mostly superseded by {failure} or {failing}, except in the phrase without fail. His highness fail of issue. Shak. [1913 Webster] 2. Death; decease.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fail — [fāl] vi. [ME failen < OFr faillir, to fail, miss < L fallere, to deceive, disappoint < IE base * ĝhwel , to bend, deviate > Sans hválati, (he) loses the way, errs, Gr phēloein, to deceive] 1. to be lacking or insufficient; fall short …   English World dictionary

  • Fail — Fail, v. t. 1. To be wanting to; to be insufficient for; to disappoint; to desert. [1913 Webster] There shall not fail thee a man on the throne. 1 Kings ii. 4. [1913 Webster] 2. To miss of attaining; to lose. [R.] [1913 Webster] Though that seat… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fail — early 13c., from O.Fr. falir (11c., Mod.Fr. faillir) be lacking, miss, not succeed, from V.L. *fallire, from L. fallere to trip, cause to fall; figuratively to deceive, trick, dupe, cheat, elude; fail, be lacking or defective. Related: Failed;… …   Etymology dictionary

  • fail — [v1] be unsuccessful abort, backslide, back wrong horse*, be defeated, be demoted, be found lacking*, be in vain*, be ruined, blunder, break down, come to naught, come to nothing, decline, deteriorate, fall, fall flat*, fall short*, fall through* …   New thesaurus

  • fail — ► VERB 1) be unsuccessful in an undertaking. 2) be unable to meet the standards set by (a test). 3) judge (a candidate in an examination or test) not to have passed. 4) neglect to do. 5) disappoint expectations: chaos has failed to materialize.… …   English terms dictionary

  • fail — fā(ə)l vi 1) to weaken or lose strength <her health was failing> 2) to stop functioning <the patient s heart failed> …   Medical dictionary

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