Definition of


  1. (verb, change) get worse
  2. (verb, change) stop operating or functioning
    The car died on the road
    The bus we travelled in broke down on the way to town
    The coffee maker broke
    The engine failed on the way to town
    her eyesight went after the accident
  3. (verb, change) prove insufficient
  4. (verb, emotion) disappoint, prove undependable to; abandon, forsake
    His strength finally failed him
    His children failed him in the crisis
  5. (verb, possession) become bankrupt or insolvent; fail financially and close
    A number of banks failed that year
  6. (verb, social) fall short in what is expected
    We must not fail his obligation to the victims of the Holocaust
  7. (verb, social) fail to get a passing grade
    Did I fail the test?
  8. (verb, social) judge unacceptable
  9. (verb, social) be unsuccessful
    The attempt to rescue the hostages failed miserably
  10. (verb, social) fail to do something; leave something undone
    The secretary failed to call the customer and the company lost the account
  11. (verb, social) be unable

via WordNet, Princeton University

Antonyms of Fail

manage, pass, succeed

Origin of the word Fail

  1. early 13c., from O.Fr. faillir "be lacking, miss, not succeed," from V.L. *fallire, from L. fallere "deceive, be lacking or defective." Related: Failed; failing. Replaced O.E. abreo?an. The Anglo-Norm. form, failer, came to be used as a noun, hence failure. more

via Online Etymology Dictionary, ©2001 Douglas Harper

Words that sound like Fail

fa la, fable, faille, fal la, fall, fall away, falla, fallal, fallow, feeble, feebly, feel, fell, fella, fellah

via soundex() Hash Matches

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