One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
verbbefell, befallen[with object]literary
(especially of something bad) happen to (someone)‘a tragedy befell his daughter’no object ‘she was to blame for anything that befell’
happen to, overtake, come upon, fall upon, hit, strike, be visited onhappen, occur, take place, chance to happen, arise, emerge, come about, transpire, materialize, appear, make an appearance, surface, crop up, spring up, present itselfView synonyms
- ‘Summoning emergency help should an injury befall a walker would have been almost impossible.’
- ‘In November 1913 a fatal tragedy befell the family - after a quarrel Lora committed suicide.’
- ‘Despite the disgrace and humiliation which eventually befell him, he never wavered from his beliefs.’
- ‘We're sorry these warnings were too late to prevent the tragedy that befell your family.’
- ‘But bad luck befell the team, resulting in a year-long winless streak.’
Old English befeallan ‘to fall’ (early use being chiefly figurative); related to German befallen.
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