to happen or occur.
Archaic. to come, as by right.
to happen to, especially by chance or fate.
Contemporary Examples

Information about the neurologic and psychological changes that may befall young TBI victims is scarce.
Study Says Half of Jailed NYC Teens Have History of Brain Injury Dr. Anand Veeravagu, MD, Tej Azad April 21, 2014

FERC also needs to have sufficient power to deal with a national emergency that might befall the entire bulk electricity system.
Don’t Let a Good Thing Pass Us By Justin Green November 11, 2012

There is no greater tragedy that can befall a parent than having to bury one’s own child.
We’ll Never Have Closure Susan Levy February 22, 2009

So, you ask on this Veterans Day, how could the tragedy at Fort Hood befall us?
The Next Fort Hood Ken Allard November 9, 2009

Floods that swept the South Russian region of Krasnodar over the weekend are the latest disaster to befall the country.
Is This Putin’s ‘Katrina Moment?’ Owen Matthews July 11, 2012

Historical Examples

Oh, if any harm should befall her beautiful, darling Flossy!
The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe Amanda Minnie Douglas

Then he went down—stairs, prepared for whatever should befall him that day.
Tip Lewis and His Lamp Pansy

Down climbed Eut-le-ten nothing affrighted, but filled with the knowledge no harm could befall him.
Indian Legends of Vancouver Island Alfred Carmichael

No; I felt this was not the case; but I felt that something worse than this was about to befall me.
The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 10, No. 58, August, 1862 Various

But an even worse disaster than this was to befall the great twelve-thousand-ton cruiser.
The World Peril of 1910 George Griffith

verb (archaic or literary) -falls, -falling, -fell, -fallen
(intransitive) to take place; come to pass
(transitive) to happen to
(intransitive) usually foll by to. to be due, as by right

Old English befeallan “to deprive of; fall to, be assigned to; befall,” from be- “by, about” + feallan (see fall). Cf. Old Frisian bifalla, Old Saxon, Old High German bifallan, German befallen. Related: Befell; befalling.


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