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

A truth-teller by nature, Judt never pretended that the illness that befell him was a hidden blessing.
Tony Judt’s Final Words John Gray November 22, 2010

The pair of films that would follow—Se7en and The Game—avoided many of the pitfalls that befell Aliens3.
David Fincher’s Backseat Feminism Teo Bugbee October 8, 2014

You could barely be seen, like the fate that befell Brooks Wheelan back in September.
How Did Sasheer Zamata Do in Her Saturday Night Live Debut? Kevin Fallon January 18, 2014

She says she regularly thinks of the tragic fate that befell many of those who have come before her.
‘R&B Divas’: The TV Show That Resurrects a Genre Allison Samuels August 18, 2012

The whole episode sounds eerily similar to that which befell his Bully co-star, the late Brad Renfro.
The John Connor Curse: Nick Stahl, Edward Furlong and Christian Bale Marlow Stern May 17, 2012

Historical Examples

Well had it been said that Loki was at the bottom of all the misfortunes that ever befell in Asgard.
Told by the Northmen: E. M. [Ethel Mary] Wilmot-Buxton

And now let us see what befell Little John while these things were happening.
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood Howard Pyle

Such were the events that befell the fisherman: now we must relate what happened to the maid.
The Thousand and One Nights, Vol. I. Anonymous

As we drove up to Lime Street station there befell—a porter.
The Christian Hall Caine

And after many days it befell that he came to a castle whereat was a tournament.
King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table Unknown

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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