(fell; fallen; falling)
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English feallan; akin to Old High German fallan to fall and perhaps to Lithuanian pulti
Date: before 12th century
a. to descend freely by the force of gravity
b. to hang freely <her hair falls over her shoulders> c. to drop oneself to a lower position <fell to his knees> d. to come or go as if by falling <darkness falls early in the winter> 2. to become born — usually used of lambs 3. a. to become lower in degree or level <the temperature fell 10°> b. to drop in pitch or volume <their voices fell to a whisper> c. issue 1a, b <wisdom that fell from his lips> d. to become lowered <her eyes fell> 4. a. to leave an erect position suddenly and involuntarily <slipped and fell on the ice> b. to enter as if unawares ; stumble, stray <fell into error> c. to drop down wounded or dead; especially to die in battle d. to suffer military capture <after a long siege the city fell> e. to lose office <the party fell from power> f. to suffer ruin, defeat, or failure <the deal fell through> 5. to commit an immoral act; especially to lose one's chastity 6. a. to move or extend in a downward direction <the land falls away to the east> b. subside, abate <the wind is falling> c. to decline in quality, activity, or quantity <production fell off> d. to lose weight — used with off or away e. to assume a look of shame, disappointment, or dejection <his face fell> f. to decline in financial value or price <stocks fell sharply> 7. a. to occur at a certain time <her birthday falls on a Monday this year> b. to come by chance <a job that fell into his hands> c. to come or pass by lot, assignment, or inheritance ; devolve <it fell to him to break the news> d. to have a certain or proper position, place, or station <the accent falls on the second syllable> 8. to come within the limits, scope, or jurisdiction of something <this word falls into the class of verbs> 9. to pass suddenly and passively into a state of body or mind or a new state or condition <fall asleep> <fall in love> 10. to set about heartily or actively <fell to work> 11. strike, impinge <music falling on the ear> transitive verb fell 1 II. noun Date: 13th century 1. the act of falling by the force of gravity 2. a. a falling out, off, or away ; dropping <the fall of leaves> <a fall of snow> b. the season when leaves fall from trees ; autumn c. a thing or quantity that falls or has fallen <a fall of rock at the base of the cliff>; especially one or more meteorites or their fragments that have fallen together d. (1) birth (2) the quantity born — usually used of lambs 3. a. a costume decoration of lace or thin fabric arranged to hang loosely and gracefully b. a very wide turned-down collar worn in the 17th century c. the part of a turnover collar from the crease to the outer edge d. a wide front flap on trousers (as those worn by sailors) e. the freely hanging lower edge of the skirt of a coat f. one of the three outer and often drooping segments of the flower of an iris g. long hair overhanging the face of dogs of some breeds h. a usually long straight portion of hair that is attached to a person's own hair 4. a hoisting-tackle rope or chain; especially the part of it to which the power is applied 5. a. loss of greatness ; collapse <the fall of the Roman Empire> b. the surrender or capture of a besieged place <the fall of Troy> c. lapse or departure from innocence or goodness d. loss of a woman's chastity e. the blame for a failure or misdeed <took the fall for the robbery> 6. a. the downward slope (as of a hill) ; declivity b. a precipitous descent of water ; waterfall — usually used in plural but sing. or plural in constr. c. a musical cadence d. a falling-pitch intonation in speech 7. a decrease in size, quantity, degree, or value 8. a. the distance which something falls b. inclination, pitch 9. a. the act of felling something b. the quantity of trees cut down c. (1) an act of forcing a wrestler's shoulders to the mat for a specified time (as one second) (2) a bout of wrestling 10. Scottish destiny, lot III. adjective Date: 1677 of, relating to, or suitable for autumn <a new fall coat>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.