Etymology: Middle English failen, from Anglo-French faillir, from Vulgar Latin *fallire, alteration of Latin fallere to deceive, disappoint
Date: 13th century
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.