Fail meaning

fāl
To receive an academic grade below the acceptable minimum.
verb
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To fail is defined as to be unsuccessful at something, to not do something you should, or to tell someone they were unsuccessful at something.

When you get only 1 question correct out of 100 on the test, this is an example of a time when you fail.

When you were supposed to take the garbage out and did not, this is an example of a time when you fail to take out the garbage.

When you are a teacher and you give a student a 20% on a test out of 100, this is an example of a time when you fail the student.

verb
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To prove deficient or lacking; perform ineffectively or inadequately.

Failed to fulfill their promises; failed in their attempt to reach the summit.

verb
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To prove insufficient in quantity or duration; give out.

The water supply failed during the drought.

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To decline, as in strength or effectiveness.

The light began to fail.

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To cease functioning properly.

The engine failed.

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To give way or be made otherwise useless as a result of excessive strain.

The rusted girders failed and caused the bridge to collapse.

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To become bankrupt or insolvent.

Their business failed during the last recession.

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To disappoint or prove undependable to.

Our sentries failed us.

verb
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To abandon; forsake.

His strength failed him.

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To omit to perform (an expected duty, for example).

We must not fail our obligation to the earthquake victims.

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To leave undone; neglect.

Failed to wash the dishes.

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To be detected by (a drug test) as having used a banned substance.
verb
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A failing grade.

The student received a fail on the final paper.

noun
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To be lacking or insufficient; fall short.

The water supply is failing.

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To lose power or strength; weaken; die away.
verb
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To stop operating or working.

The brakes failed.

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To be deficient or negligent in an obligation, duty, or expectation; default.
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To be unsuccessful in obtaining a desired end; be unable to do or become; miss.
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To become bankrupt.
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(educ.) To get a grade of failure; not pass.
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To be useless or not helpful to; be inadequate for; disappoint.
verb
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To leave; abandon.

His courage failed him.

verb
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To miss, neglect, or omit: used with an infinitive.

He failed to go.

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Failure.
noun
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To break; not to succeed in reaching a standard or goal; to perform ineptly or faultily; to become bankrupt.
verb
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(intransitive) To be unsuccessful.

Throughout my life, I have always failed.

verb
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Not to achieve a particular stated goal. (Usage note: The direct object of this word is usually an infinitive.)

The truck failed to start.

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The report fails to take into account all the mitigating factors.

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(intransitive, of a machine, etc.) To cease to operate correctly.

After running five minutes, the engine failed.

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To be wanting to, to be insufficient for, to disappoint, to desert.
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(intransitive) To receive one or more non-passing grades in academic pursuits.

I failed in English last year.

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To give a student a non-passing grade in an academic endeavour.

The professor failed me because I did not complete any of the course assignments.

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To be wanting; to fall short; to be or become deficient in any measure or degree up to total absence.

The crops failed last year.

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(archaic) To be affected with want; to come short; to lack; to be deficient or unprovided; used with of.
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(archaic) To fall away; to become diminished; to decline; to decay; to sink.
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(archaic) To deteriorate in respect to vigour, activity, resources, etc.; to become weaker.

A sick man fails.

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To become unable to meet one's engagements; especially, to be unable to pay one's debts or discharge one's business obligation; to become bankrupt or insolvent.
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(slang) A failure (condition of being unsuccessful)
noun
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(slang, US) A failure (something incapable of success)
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A failure, especially of a financial transaction (a termination of an action).
noun
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A failing grade in an academic examination.
noun
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(slang, US) That is a failure.
adjective
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without fail
  • With no chance of failure:
    Be here at noon without fail.
idiom
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fail of
  • to fail to achieve; be without
idiom
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Idioms and Phrasal Verbs

Origin of fail

  • Middle English failen from Old French faillir from Vulgar Latin fallīre variant of Latin fallere to deceive

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

  • From Middle English failen, from Anglo-Norman faillir, from Vulgar Latin *fallire, alteration of Latin fallere (“to deceive, disappoint”), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰāl- (“to lie, deceive”). Compare Dutch feilen, falen (“to fail, miss”), German fehlen (“to fail, miss, lack”), Danish feile (“to fail, err”), Swedish fela (“to fail, be wanting, do wrong”), Icelandic feila (“to fail”).

    From Wiktionary