- v. & n.
—v.intr. (past fell; past part. fallen)
1 a go or come down freely; descend rapidly from a higher to a lower level (fell from the top floor; rain was falling). b drop or be dropped (supplies fell by parachute; the curtain fell).
2 a (often foll. by over) cease to stand; come suddenly to the ground from loss of balance etc. b collapse forwards or downwards esp. of one's own volition (fell into my arms; fell over the chair).
3 become detached and descend or disappear.
4 take a downward direction: a (of hair, clothing, etc.) hang down. b (of ground etc.) slope. c (foll. by into) (of a river etc.) discharge into.
5 a find a lower level; sink lower. b subside, abate.
6 (of a barometer, thermometer, etc.) show a lower reading.
7 occur; become apparent or present (darkness fell).
8 decline, diminish (demand is falling; standards have fallen).
9 a (of the face) show dismay or disappointment. b (of the eyes or a glance) look downwards.
10 a lose power or status (the government will fall). b lose esteem, moral integrity, etc.
11 commit sin; yield to temptation.
12 take or have a particular direction or place (his eye fell on me; the accent falls on the first syllable).
13 a find a place; be naturally divisible (the subject falls into three parts). b (foll. by under, within) be classed among.
14 occur at a specified time (Easter falls early this year).
15 come by chance or duty (it fell to me to answer).
16 a pass into a specified condition (fall into decay; fell ill). b become (fall asleep).
17 a (of a position etc.) be overthrown or captured; succumb to attack. b be defeated; fail.
18 die (fall in battle).
19 (foll. by on, upon) a attack. b meet with. c embrace or embark on avidly.
20 (foll. by to + verbal noun) begin (fell to wondering).
21 (foll. by to) lapse, revert (revenues fall to the Crown).
1 the act or an instance of falling; a sudden rapid descent.
2 that which falls or has fallen, e.g. snow, rocks, etc.
3 the recorded amount of rainfall etc.
4 a decline or diminution.
5 overthrow, downfall (the fall of Rome).
6 a succumbing to temptation. b (the Fall) the sin of Adam and its consequences, as described in Genesis.
7 (of material, land, light, etc.) a downward direction; a slope.
8 (also Fall) US autumn.
9 (esp. in pl.) a waterfall, cataract, or cascade.
10 Mus. a cadence.
11 a a wrestling-bout; a throw in wrestling which keeps the opponent on the ground for a specified time. b a controlled act of falling, esp. as a stunt or in judo etc.
12 a the birth of young of certain animals. b the number of young born.
13 a rope of a hoisting-tackle.
Phrases and idioms:
fall about colloq. be helpless, esp. with laughter. fall apart (or to pieces)
1 break into pieces.
2 (of a situation etc.) disintegrate; be reduced to chaos.
3 lose one's capacity to cope.
1 (of a surface) incline abruptly.
2 become few or thin; gradually vanish.
3 desert, revolt; abandon one's principles. fall back retreat. fall-back (attrib.) emergency, esp. (of wages) the minimum paid when no work is available. fall back on have recourse to in difficulty.
1 be outstripped by one's competitors etc.; lag.
2 be in arrears. fall down (often foll. by on) colloq. fail; perform poorly; fail to deliver (payment etc.).
fall for colloq.
1 be captivated or deceived by.
2 admire; yield to the charms or merits of. fall foul of come into conflict with; quarrel with.
fall guy sl.
1 an easy victim.
2 a scapegoat.
1 a take one's place in military formation. b (as int.) the order to do this.
2 collapse inwards. falling star a meteor. fall in love see LOVE.
fall into line
1 take one's place in the ranks.
2 conform or collaborate with others. fall into place begin to make sense or cohere.
fall in with
1 meet by chance.
2 agree with; accede to; humour.
3 coincide with.
1 (of demand etc.) decrease, deteriorate.
2 withdraw. fall-off n. a decrease, deterioration, withdrawal, etc.
2 (of the hair, teeth, etc.) become detached.
3 Mil. come out of formation.
4 result; come to pass; occur. fall out of gradually discontinue (a habit etc.).
fall over oneself colloq.
1 be eager or competitive.
2 be awkward, stumble through haste, confusion, etc. fall-pipe a downpipe.
1 be or become deficient or inadequate.
2 (of a missile etc.) not reach its target. fall short of fail to reach or obtain. fall through fail; come to nothing; miscarry. fall to begin an activity, e.g. eating or working.
Etymology: OE fallan, feallan f. Gmc
Useful english dictionary. 2012.