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.
Failed to fulfill their promises; failed in their attempt to reach the summit.
The water supply failed during the drought.
The light began to fail.
The engine failed.
The rusted girders failed and caused the bridge to collapse.
Their business failed during the last recession.
Our sentries failed us.
His strength failed him.
We must not fail our obligation to the earthquake victims.
Failed to wash the dishes.
The student received a fail on the final paper.
The water supply is failing.
The brakes failed.
His courage failed him.
He failed to go.
The professor failed me because I did not complete any of the course assignments.
The crops failed last year.
A sick man fails.
- With no chance of failure:Be here at noon without fail.
- to fail to achieve; be without
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”).