A fall

[fawl] /fɔl/
albert bacon, 1861–1944, u.s. politician: senator 1912–21; secretary of the interior 1921–23; convicted in teapot dome scandal.
verb (mainly intransitive) falls, falling, fell (fɛl), fallen (ˈfɔːlən)
to descend by the force of gravity from a higher to a lower place
to drop suddenly from an erect position
to collapse to the ground, esp in pieces
to become less or lower in number, quality, etc: prices fell in the summer
to become lower in pitch
to extend downwards: her hair fell to her waist
to be badly wounded or killed
to slope in a downward direction
(christianity) to yield to temptation or sin
to diminish in status, estimation, etc
to yield to attack: the city fell under the -ssault
to lose power: the government fell after the riots
to p-ss into or take on a specified condition: to fall asleep, fall in love
to adopt a despondent expression: her face fell
to be averted: her gaze fell
to come by chance or presumption: suspicion fell on the butler
to occur; take place: night fell, easter falls early this year
(of payments) to be due
to be directed to a specific point
foll by back, behind, etc. to move in a specified direction
to occur at a specified place: the accent falls on the last syllable
(foll by to) to return (to); be inherited (by): the estate falls to the eldest son
often foll by into, under, etc. to be cl-ssified or included: the subject falls into two main areas
to issue forth: a curse fell from her lips
(of animals, esp lambs) to be born
(brit, dialect) to become pregnant
(transitive) (austral & nz, dialect) to fell (trees)
(cricket) (of a batsman’s wicket) to be taken by the bowling side: the sixth wicket fell for 96
(archaic) to begin to do: fall a-doing, fall to doing
fall flat, to fail to achieve a desired effect
fall foul of

to come into conflict with
(nautical) to come into collision with

fall short

to prove inadequate
(often foll by of) to fail to reach or measure up to (a standard)

an act or instance of falling
something that falls: a fall of snow
(mainly us) autumn
the distance that something falls: a hundred-foot fall
a sudden drop from an upright position
(often pl)

a waterfall or cataract
(capital when part of a name): niagara falls

a downward slope or decline
a decrease in value, number, etc
a decline in status or importance
a moral lapse or failing
a capture or overthrow: the fall of the city
a long false hairpiece; switch
a piece of loosely hanging material, such as a veil on a hat
(machinery, nautical) the end of a tackle to which power is applied to hoist it
(nautical) one of the lines of a davit for holding, lowering, or raising a boat
(wrestling) also called pinfall. a scoring move, pinning both shoulders of one’s opponent to the floor for a specified period

another word for deadfall
(as modifier): a fall trap

the birth of an animal
the animals produced at a single birth

(slang, mainly us) take the fall, to be blamed, punished, or imprisoned
see also fall about, fall among, fall apart, fall away, fall back, fall behind, fall down, fall for, fall in, fall off, fall on, fallout, fall over, fall through, fall to
word origin
old english feallan; related to old norse falla, old saxon, old high german fallan to fall; see fell²
(theol) the fall, adam’s sin of disobedience and the state of innate sinfulness ensuing from this for himself and all mankind see also original sin

old english feallan (cl-ss vii strong verb; past tense feoll, past participle feallen) “to fall; fail, decay, die,” from proto-germanic -fallanan (cf. old frisian falla, old saxon fallan, dutch vallen, old norse falla, old high german fallan, german fallen), from pie root -pol- “to fall” (cf. armenian p’ul “downfall,” lithuanian puola “to fall,” old prussian aupallai “finds,” literally “falls upon”).

most of the figurative senses had developed in middle english. meaning “to be reduced” (as temperature) is from 1650s. to fall in love is attested from 1520s; to fall asleep is late 14c. fall through “come to naught” is from 1781. to fall for something is from 1903.

c.1200, “a falling;” see fall (n.). old english noun form, fealle, meant “snare, trap.” sense of “autumn” (now only in u.s.) is 1660s, short for fall of the leaf (1540s). that of “cascade, waterfall” is from 1570s. wrestling sense is from 1550s. of a city under siege, etc., 1580s. fall guy is from 1906.

: this your first fall, ain’t it?/ another fall meant a life sentence (1893+)

to be arrested; be imprisoned; drop: when you have bad luck and you fall, new york is the best place/ the best thief in the city till he fell (1879+ underworld)
o become enamored; become a lover: once abelard saw her he fell (1906+)

related terms

pratfall, the roof falls in, take a fall, take the rap


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