Definition of fall in English:



  • 1Move from a higher to a lower level, typically rapidly and without control.

    ‘bombs could be seen falling from the planes’
    ‘my purse fell out of my bag’
    ‘she was injured by a falling tree’
    • ‘The tear drop that fell to the sandy floor changed as it fell, to a jewel.’
    • ‘Peering from behind my hands, I watch as the horses fall, or throw their rider, or watch as loose, riderless horses veer across the track.’
    • ‘They were all around us, and when shooting stars fell, you could have sworn that they were going to fall towards you and fall into your hair.’
    • ‘He brought his hands down, and she let the bow fall abruptly, surprised at his sudden movement.’
    • ‘That meant if he lost his handhold on the roof, he'd fall at least 40 feet, swinging like a pendulum in a huge arc.’
    • ‘Tom steps out of the doorway and falls 7 feet, collapsing onto rails.’
    • ‘She shouted in rage as the stunned Arzenes fell to the floor, the computer in his arms falling with a crash.’
    • ‘His hand glowed and the gigantic sword fell to the ground, leaving a small indention where it had fallen.’
    • ‘Just as I arrived rain began to fall, and inside the cafe Kinda Blue was playing.’
    • ‘The tears fell and she threw her fistfuls of sand at the horizon.’
    • ‘But as with any thrown object as it falls vertically, it also travels horizontally.’
    • ‘I got up and went to the shower; I dropped my silk gown which fell to the floor stroking my skin softly as it fell.’
    • ‘She threw the ax as far as she could and it fell onto the grassy ground.’
    • ‘The rain fell harder as we arrived at a larger town, crested with ten thousand 1V aerials.’
    • ‘Nick had fallen down into the same pit that Scott and Sean fell into.’
    • ‘The mirror's shards fell to the floor like rain, each part catching her reflection as it fell and rested on the floor.’
    • ‘I watched her open up the paper, let the rest of the tobacco fall onto the ground, and then ball up the little bit of paper and flick it.’
    • ‘Most of the sugar landed in his midnight black hair to make it look like he had a bad case of dandruff and the spoon fell loudly to the floor.’
    drop, drop down, plummet, descend, come down, go down, plunge, sink, dive, nosedive, tumble, pitch
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Become detached and drop to the ground.
      ‘my sunglasses fell off and broke on the pavement’
      • ‘I opened my left front door panel yesterday and I accidentally pull the door handle and the wire hook just fell off suddenly.’
      • ‘One or more keys fell off the laptop keyboard and you are not sure how to put them back?’
    2. 1.2Hang down.
      ‘hair that was allowed to fall to the shoulders’
      • ‘His braided hair fell down over his shoulders, his eyes were jet black, and he liked to wear a piece of purple silk tied around his hair.’
      • ‘His long golden hair falls down over his shoulders, and you notice two pointed ears poking out from the golden locks.’
    3. 1.3(of land) slope downwards.
      ‘the land fell away in a steep bank’
      • ‘The ground fell away from the river somewhat at first, and then rose and fell again before it went up in one slope toward the Wolfing dwellings.’
      • ‘Where the ground fell away right at the end of the garden, we have made a lower level with some steps leading down to a small paved patio.’
      slope down, slope, slant down, go down, incline downwards, tilt downwards, drop away, drop, descend, dip, sink, plunge
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4(of a river) flow or discharge itself into.
      ‘this is the stream that falls into Gaping Gill on the moor above’
      • ‘The noble river Severn takes its rise from the Ellennith mountains and falls into the sea a few miles from Gloucester.’
      • ‘The Meuse of France falls into the Rhine.’
    5. 1.5[no object](of someone's eyes or glance) be directed downwards.
      ‘Albert's eyes fell, and he blushed’
      • ‘Her eyes fell to the floor, searching for the largest, sharpest piece of the broken glass.’
      • ‘His gaze fell to my lips as if he wanted to kiss me.’
    6. 1.6[no object](of someone's face) show dismay or disappointment by appearing to droop.
      ‘her face fell as she thought about her life with George’
      • ‘I watched as his face fell, blue eyes glimmering with disappointment.’
      • ‘His face fell, as if he had just learnt of a sudden failure of all the plane's engines.’
      • ‘Their faces would fall and I would feel terrible for them in their disappointment.’
      • ‘I wanted to watch their faces fall, watch their vacation end as abruptly as mine did.’
      • ‘Julie's face fell and tears trailed down her cheeks like two little streams.’
      • ‘Leah's face fell, but she couldn't let herself be too disappointed, at least she was getting out.’
      • ‘They get near to the shop, and Podge's face falls when he sees a girl standing outside who has obviously been waiting for him’
      • ‘He stated and the president paused in his stretch, rising to stand immediately as a somber gaze appeared in his eyes, his face falling.’
      • ‘Rena's face fell as she made a vortex of some kind and disappeared in a flash.’
      • ‘As soon as Mike saw the little gold object in my hand his face fell.’
      • ‘Una's face fell slightly in disappointment and she looked at me.’
      • ‘Then her face fell, as she realised she could never sneak past her parents with her hair in spikes.’
      • ‘But Rupes was quite sweet when he saw how my face fell.’
      • ‘Her face falls when he thanks her for the valuable leads that she's given him.’
      • ‘Cody's face fell, but it quickly disappeared to be replaced by a smile.’
      • ‘I was sure my face fell, reflecting my disappointment because Sister Martina patted me gently on the shoulder.’
      • ‘When the judges announced that their decision was unanimous, her face fell, as she was clearly expecting the worst.’
      • ‘I was telling my husband about Join Me and Raymond Price, and his face just fell, and he took out a bit of paper.’
      • ‘Kyle's face fell, slightly, as if he were disappointed at the matter altogether.’
      • ‘Face falling drastically, Candace looked down to conceal her disappointment.’
  • 2(of a person) lose one's balance and collapse.

    ‘she fell down at school today’
    • ‘Thrown off balance, the boy fell with a splash, just as the bullet whizzed past his head.’
    • ‘Trying to stand up only to completely lose his footing and fall right back down, Peter chuckled at his own ineptitude.’
    • ‘She kept falling and tripping because she couldn't concentrate.’
    • ‘When I tripped, I had fallen onto a sharp stone, and it had effectively gouged a considerable hole in both my jeans and my knee.’
    • ‘The first time he trips and falls, his mother responds with sympathetic cooing noises.’
    • ‘We'd clasped hands and spun around, but I'd fallen off balance and crashed into the table.’
    • ‘A post-mortem report showed heart disease was likely to have caused Mr Turner to collapse and fall downstairs.’
    • ‘I did not fall or lose my balance or anything else embarrassing, but I was annoyed.’
    • ‘Every step she felt terrified she'd fall or trip on something on the floor.’
    • ‘His brother had fallen backwards onto the grass in the lawn losing much blood it seemed.’
    • ‘Now, it's my understanding that when you ‘pass out’ you fall backwards.’
    • ‘One time, she bet Aaron that I'd fall or trip at least ten times in one day.’
    • ‘Valshar's hands went out at the shoulders and caught himself as he fell and started to turn his fall into a backwards roll.’
    • ‘I put my right foot on it, and put my hand on his shoulder, then he quickly heaved me up, making me lose my balance, and I began falling backwards.’
    • ‘About halfway up I lost my footing and fell a few feet down, scraping my hands on the rough sand, and lose rocks.’
    • ‘I saw my mother fall backwards and hit her head on the table.’
    • ‘It was hard to climb down and halfway he lost his footing and fell the rest of the way.’
    • ‘She took her hand and with no support, purposely fell into him, causing him to fall backwards.’
    • ‘The four of them were running, and she kept falling, or tripping rather.’
    • ‘Full marks must go to Stroppy Cow, who, somehow, managed to fall sideways as she introduced herself with a hiccup and a glass in each hand.’
    topple over, tumble over, keel over, fall down, fall over, go head over heels, go end over end, fall headlong, go headlong, collapse, fall in a heap, take a spill, pitch forward
    fall over, fall, topple over, tumble down, keel over, collapse, fall in a heap, trip, take a spill, stumble, stagger
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Throw oneself to the ground.
      ‘she fell to her knees and began to weep’
      • ‘He fell to his knees and the arms around him loosened the grip and he fell completely.’
      • ‘I swear, if I hadn't been holding on to him I probably would have fallen to the ground due to weak knees.’
      • ‘Towdah fell to his knees, faking a little flailing motion as he fell.’
      • ‘If Rose hadn't been lying down on the floor, she most defiantly would have fallen on the ground a few feet away.’
      • ‘Cheska's fathers' eyes widened as he dropped to his knees, falling onto the ground face first.’
      • ‘She knew that if she wasn't already sitting on her short stool, she'd probably have fallen to the ground from weak knees.’
      • ‘The wife fell at his feet and begged for forgiveness.’
    2. 2.2(of a tree or structure) collapse to the ground.
      ‘after the earthquake, part of the city fell down’
      • ‘And on the way back, a huge branch from one of the trees fell right on top of our car.’
      • ‘In all the years we have lived here, no trees have fallen except in the exceptional circumstance of the hurricane in the 1980s.’
      • ‘But as police officers arrived to help recover the damaged vehicle, a second massive tree fell from the roadside and completely crushed it.’
      • ‘Jeremy jumped into the ravine as well now, just before the pine tree fell right on top of us.’
      • ‘No sooner the rains began, traffic crawled, trees fell, power tripped and Bangaloreans waded home with a sense of déjà vu.’
      • ‘Many trees had fallen over and were lying twisted on the ground.’
      • ‘A pine tree had fallen sideways into Lenin's Mausoleum, the building of which was streaked with more of that rusty red substance.’
      • ‘Heavy trees fell, damaging homes and in three cases crushing Tampa police cars.’
      • ‘A huge tree had fallen across the road in the vicinity of Nardia's house, and the road was impassable.’
      • ‘Struggling among the vines, Kearney reflected that they could report that a lot of trees had fallen down and the ground was full of large holes.’
      • ‘The tree had fallen on Sean while he was putting up the plastic tree.’
      • ‘One large tree had fallen on the pipeline and damaged one section.’
      • ‘The entire structure began falling inwards, collapsing in on itself like a cloth being folded.’
      • ‘The front of Jim and Pat Fitzgerald's Mercedes was squashed when a 100 ft oak fell across the bonnet and windscreen in south Manchester.’
      • ‘Although it was not raining when the tree fell and winds were extremely light, it is thought the heavy downpours of the previous few days may have led to the collapse.’
      • ‘And the storm came, and the tree fell, and the men came and took it away.’
      • ‘A tree fell, trapping two children, one of them being the fatality.’
      • ‘Dixie watched in shock as a tall pine tree fell slowly toward her plastic kennel, which was shaped like an igloo.’
      • ‘And in the back garden, a large poplar tree had fallen from a neighbour's garden, destroying a fence and landing the middle of Mr Warren's lawn.’
      • ‘Students at Mt Nelson Primary School were given the day off after a tree fell across powerlines and cut electricity to the school.’
      collapse, cave in, come down about one's ears, crash in, fall down
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3informal (of computer hardware or software) stop working suddenly; crash.
      ‘the program fell over once when I clicked on the wrong control’
      • ‘Two days later my computer kept falling over during the windows boot process with a suspect driver error.’
      • ‘I bought two of these when they first came out, one as a mini server the other as a back up server. They were fine for about 24 months... then they both just fell over, both on the same day.’
      • ‘Ok, here goes, if this site suddenly falls over, you'll know why!’
  • 3Decrease in number, amount, intensity, or quality.

    ‘imports fell by 12 per cent’
    ‘we're worried that standards are falling’
    • ‘Unemployment reached the highest levels since the 1930s. Wages fell by the greatest amount in a century.’
    • ‘The amount of advertising for the division fell by 15 per cent from January to June.’
    • ‘The authority welcomed news that crime in the police force area fell by an average of five per cent including a 10 per cent drop in Barnsley.’
    • ‘Within the whole sample, depression scores fell by a similar amount in both groups at two and four months.’
    • ‘After-tax profits fell by 6.2 percent, following a 4.3 percent drop in the fourth quarter.’
    • ‘After the huge level of activity in 2000, the amount of home and overseas purchases by Irish firms fell by half last year.’
    • ‘The average fuel consumption for all gasoline and diesel-fueled cars combined fell by 12 percent.’
    • ‘The British Crime Survey shows that violent crime fell by six per cent and violence involving injury dropped by 12 per cent.’
    • ‘As revealed in the Daily Echo, the amount collected in the Poppy Appeal last year in Hampshire fell by £17,000.’
    • ‘There were prizes in each department of televisions and bicycles and absenteeism fell by 75%.’
    • ‘Sales of standard tea bags fell by 16 per cent and loose tea by nine per cent over the past two years, according to a report out this week.’
    • ‘Robbery was down by a quarter, domestic burglaries dropped by more than a third and vehicle crime fell by more than 40 per cent.’
    • ‘The number of maths teachers with more than an A-level in the subject fell by an estimated 3,400 between 1996 and 2002.’
    • ‘The monthly data indicate that real GDP fell by at least that amount in the third quarter.’
    • ‘When it reopened the Dow Jones index fell by six per cent.’
    • ‘Irish pension fund values fell by at least 5% in the last year, two separate surveys found yesterday.’
    • ‘Nationwide's latest survey shows the average house price fell by 0.2% last month and by the same amount in August.’
    • ‘If the Footsie fell by the same amount it would have gone below 3,000.’
    • ‘Sales of music CDs fell by nearly 7 percent in Ireland last year.’
    • ‘Prices fell by four pence in some areas after a drop in the wholesale price of oil.’
    decrease, decline, diminish, drop off, go down, go downhill, grow less, lessen, dwindle, plummet, plunge, slump, sink
    hit the floor, go through the floor, nosedive, take a nosedive, take a header, go into a tailspin, crash
    decrease, decline, diminish, fall off, drop off, go down, grow less, lessen, dwindle
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1(of a measuring instrument) show a lower reading.
      ‘the barometer had fallen a further ten points’
      • ‘Easton awoke early this morning to find the thermometer had fallen 30 during the night, and was but 2 above a zero.’
      • ‘The Tourism Barometer's recent low point of 87.1 in November 2001 was matched only in March 1993 when the barometer fell to 87.0.’
    2. 3.2(in sport) play less well.
      ‘when he faded the whole team fell away’
      • ‘Middlesbrough in particular have suffered this season from this very factor, falling away after a great start to the season.’
      • ‘By early in the second half the Ecuador international was exhausted and fell away.’
      • ‘But at the same time, the last three seasons with Scott in the team still saw us fall away as the campaign drew to an end.’
      • ‘They challenged throughout the season and won the Powergen Cup before falling away towards the end of the campaign.’
      • ‘Yes, our league form did fall away a bit but now we are back on track we can give it full focus now and look to improve our league position.’
  • 4Be captured or defeated.

    ‘their mountain strongholds fell to enemy attack’
    • ‘Despite the efforts of Washington's regulars and the massed militia, New York and its strategic harbor fell to the enemy in September 1776. ...’
    • ‘When the town fell to the epidemic of vampirism that swept the world, it must have fallen quickly.’
    • ‘Damar becomes even more angry, when he learns that Septimus III has fallen to the enemy, even though Weyoun had promised to "deal" with the situation.’
    • ‘Kingdoms have fallen, battles are fought and thousands are slain.’
    • ‘Once the bridge fell, the battle was a foregone conclusion.’
    surrender, yield, submit, give in, give up, give way, capitulate, succumb
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1Cricket (of a wicket) be taken by the bowling side.
      ‘more wickets fell’
      • ‘With a target of just 129 in the second innings, seven wickets fell before spinner Ashley Giles hit the winning runs.’
      • ‘No more wickets fell before the close and Jaques ended unbeaten on 67.’
      • ‘Batting first, Ashford never got started and wickets fell at regular intervals to leave the home side dismissed for a meagre 92.’
      • ‘With the wickets falling at regular innings Crompark were back in with a chance.’
      • ‘Two wickets had fallen in three balls, and Pakistan were delicately poised at 109 for 3.’
    2. 4.2Die in battle.
      ‘an English leader who had fallen at the hands of the Danes’
      • ‘It began to fill with peasants and nobles, mourning for those who had fallen in battle all that way from home.’
      • ‘That uniform is stained with the noble blood of those who've fallen in battle for their country.’
      • ‘All we could do was watch on and take small satisfaction as one of them fell during the battle.’
      • ‘To-day is Armistice Day, the day when we remember those who have fallen in battle defending our great Republic.’
      • ‘Those that had fallen in battle were buried deep within the catacombs with their name, rank, and race carved into the stone above their urn holder.’
      • ‘Andromache is the widow of the renowned Trojan hero Hector, fallen in battle.’
      • ‘It seemed to [previous speakers] a worthy thing that such an honor should be given at their burial to the dead who have fallen on the field of battle.’
      • ‘The General was said to be battered and bruised, but was not one of the unfortunate 420000 who fell during the battle.’
      • ‘He fell fighting the historic battle of Naushera, but not before enemy was routed.’
      • ‘On this Memorial Day as we honor those who have fallen in battle in service of their country let us pray to whatever higher force in which we believe or hope that the dying stops.’
      • ‘That fateful day, an alliance was formed between the people of the Northern Continent, and sealed with the blood of those fallen in battle.’
      • ‘The brave warriors smiled upon their king as he removed his commander's helmet and donned one of a common soldier who had fallen in battle.’
      • ‘The figures are the ghostly shapes of bowmen who fell during the battles of the Hundred Years' War.’
      • ‘It broke her heart to see such a proud and beautiful home cut down in its prime, like a brave young soldier who had fallen in his first battle.’
      die, be killed, be slain, be a casualty, be a fatality, be lost, lose one's life, perish, drop dead, meet one's end, meet one's death
      View synonyms
    3. 4.3[no object](of a government or leader) lose office or be overthrown.
      • ‘Napoleon III fell from power and in 1870, Hugo witnessed the siege of Paris.’
      • ‘Ties had been strained after the Khmer Rouge fell from power in 1979, but warmed again in the mid-1990s.’
      • ‘Much of this distributive settlement was self-implementing, once the communist regimes fell from power.’
      • ‘He fell from power in 1667 and fled to France to avoid impeachment.’
      • ‘Where were you on the day Margaret Thatcher fell from power?’
      surrender, yield, submit, give in, give up, give way, capitulate, succumb
      View synonyms
    4. 4.4archaic [no object]Yield to temptation.
      ‘it is their husbands' fault if wives do fall’
  • 5Pass into a specified state, situation, or position.

    ‘many of the buildings fell into disrepair’
    [with complement] ‘she fell pregnant’
    • ‘An existing fish pass has fallen into disrepair and is not maintained, resulting in fish finding it hard to get upriver to spawn.’
    • ‘Three days have passed since Megan had fallen into what seemed to be a slight coma due to the bullet that burrowed itself deep within her shoulder.’
    • ‘I immediately fell into Damin, though, because my legs had fallen asleep.’
    • ‘Galen fell silent staring out the kitchen window lost in his own world.’
    • ‘Annika let silent tears fall and stain the blanket, as she fell into a nightmare filled sleep.’
    • ‘The messenger fell silent, passing his black-sealed message from hand to hand.’
    • ‘With food and water in her stomach, Calida let the urge to fall asleep take over and she fell into a dreamless, peaceful sleep.’
    • ‘At long last the day ended, and I fell into bed hoping to fall asleep quickly and refrain from thinking about the ball again.’
    • ‘Worse than all of that, though, was that she didn't even remember passing out, nor falling asleep.’
    • ‘The popular column had been written for years by Jim Hamilton, who fell ill and passed away earlier this year.’
    • ‘If I didn't get sleep soon, I could probably either pass out or fall asleep at a really bad time.’
    • ‘The guard threw him down to the ground and Darrius fell unconscious.’
    • ‘He was just about to fall asleep when something passed over the moon.’
    • ‘Soldiers fall ill, lose their appetites, can't sleep, and have problems with memory.’
    doze off, drop off, go to sleep
    nod off, go off, drift off, crash, crash out, flake out, conk out, go out like a light
    sack out, zone out
    become, come to be, get to be, grow, get, turn
    View synonyms
    1. 5.1Occur or take place.
      ‘when night fell we crawled back to our lines’
      ‘her birthday fell on May Day’
      • ‘If your birthday falls between June 22nd and July 23rd you are born under the sign of Cancer, the Crab.’
      • ‘My birthday fell during that week, and I was given a deck party, which provided, for me at least, the perfect culmination of the trip.’
      • ‘Instead, as darkness falls, groups arrive carrying shopping bags of alcohol.’
      • ‘It is clever, and being cocooned in a moving car while the story unfolds and darkness falls, ensure it is a memorable, even creepy experience.’
      • ‘Three Beanie Baby birthdays have fallen in the last eight days and by tonight when I was being asked to suggest presents for a lobster I confess I was feeling unhelpful.’
      • ‘As night began to fall, he arrived at a village and all the hotels were full for the night.’
      • ‘Every other year my birthday has fallen on holidays.’
      • ‘We're just having a little birthday party here for a little girl whose birthday fell today.’
      • ‘This would mean if Easter falls particularly early or late, which happens about two years in every 10, it would fall within term time.’
      • ‘But she thinks she should have been able to vote even if her birthday had fallen after polling day.’
      • ‘With his 14th birthday falling before the start of the new school year in August 1967, Torrance was free to quit the classroom earlier that summer.’
      • ‘Night had fallen again upon the world, letting the world below fall into a gentle slumber.’
      occur, take place, happen, come about, come to pass
      come, arrive, appear, occur, arise, materialize
      View synonyms
    2. 5.2Begin to do something.
      ‘he fell to musing about how it had happened’
      • ‘And the sons of Israel fell to doing what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah.’
      • ‘When her mistress left her, she fell to doing her work slowly again, and sometimes she paused to listen to the talk in the bathhouse behind her.’
    3. 5.3Be drawn accidentally into.
      ‘you must not fall into this common error’
      • ‘After graduation I fell accidentally into a job which enabled me to pursue a professional qualification.’
      • ‘Meanwhile, I fell into teaching, probably because life has a way of guiding you into service to your fellow humans.’
      • ‘Some of us were born to be spies. Not me though, I sort of fell into it by chance.’
  • 6Be classified in the way specified.

    ‘canals fall within the Minister's brief’
    • ‘She said that one would naturally arrive at something falling within the scope of claim 1.’
    • ‘Visa applicants are rarely told whether or not their work falls under a Visas Mantis category.’
    • ‘Prosecuting illegal aliens for entering the country falls under the jurisdiction, of course, of the U.S. federal government.’
    • ‘A GMP spokesman said the crime falls under the common assault category, a conviction for which could lead up to five years in jail.’
    • ‘The raise falls under the category of social allowance, which was first applied in 1987 to deal with the deterioration in public sector wages.’
    • ‘It can be said perhaps that in the private sector, which falls under the Labour Act, things conclude far quicker.’
    • ‘The commentators aren't quite sure what to say, as they don't know which rule this falls under.’
    • ‘Criminal damage falls under Section 60 of the Crimes Ordinance and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment.’
    • ‘All sites dealing in other languages do quote or translate from time to time, which falls under fair use.’
    • ‘His first major piece written in dodecaphonic serialism, it definitely falls under the category of Hard.’
    • ‘Technically, this latter decision is not directly tied in with the hygiene package but I am including it here because it falls under the general heading of food safety.’
    • ‘Hypnosis falls under a broad category of treatments called behavioral medicine, which most people practice regularly without realizing it.’
    • ‘Fingerprint recognition, which falls under a technology called biometrics, has been used for years in the corporate environment.’
    • ‘The project falls under the UW Sustainability Project.’
    • ‘All music falls under the Gospel heading, but genres run from pop rock to Celtic, to adult contemporary, to country.’
    • ‘If nothing else, the album instils a feeling that the band enjoys playing what they play, regardless of what genre it falls under.’
    • ‘The use of medication, most often beta blockers, falls under this source of self-efficacy.’
    • ‘Graham said his lawyers will oppose the extradition, which falls under the Patriot Act in the United States.’
    • ‘I am only biased against that which is unfunny, though I suppose that my own approach falls under the banner of indie or alternative comedy, two things I am not sure even exist.’
    • ‘Wald has also spoken of the need for bases to help protect oil reserves in Africa (which falls under the purview of the EUCOM).’


  • 1An act of falling or collapsing.

    ‘his mother had a fall as she alighted from a train’
    • ‘Coroner Jen Leeming recorded a verdict of accidental death, saying that the fall had started a chain of events which had led to her death.’
    • ‘Since the population has aged over the past decades, an increasing proportion of deaths from falls and accidental poisoning may be related to age and not to alcohol.’
    • ‘Mrs Tempest was conscious after the initial fall but later collapsed and was airlifted to Nairobi General Hospital.’
    • ‘Employers and staff who want advice on preventing slips, trips and falls at work can contact the division on Hull 300300.’
    • ‘Clearly, the message of how to reduce falls from height is not yet understood by everybody working in this industry.’
    • ‘The majority of genuine damages claims were for slips, trips and falls.’
    • ‘TWO jockeys were hurt in falls and a spectator collapsed in a toilet during a North Yorkshire horse race.’
    • ‘It'd be funny if I was finally killed by something as mundane as a sudden fall and a broken neck.’
    • ‘Apart from slips and falls, Mr McMahon also raised the overall issue of hospital safety.’
    • ‘Runs up the ramp may be frantic attempts to escape, but end in falls, collapses and rolling back down.’
    • ‘Posterior rib fractures are specific evidence of non accidental injury because incidental falls and minor trauma cannot cause them.’
    • ‘Sudden falls, along with injuries caused by animals and fires are also counted among the main causes of children's deaths.’
    • ‘Falling from heights and accidents involving vehicles and electricity cause most fatalities in the workplace while slips, trips and falls cause most accidents.’
    • ‘The accident comes at a time when local authorities are trying to tackle the claims culture fed by falls and stumbles.’
    • ‘And it dries much quicker, reducing the risk of slips and falls.’
    • ‘Stunned by the sudden fall, and exhausted by the run, they could only lie on the smooth floor and struggle for breath.’
    • ‘More than 10% of head injuries requiring hospitalisation amongst children come from simple trips and falls when just running around.’
    • ‘Construction sites in York and North Yorkshire are to be assessed by health and safety inspectors to check the risk of falls from height.’
    • ‘She told us of Jim's sudden accidental death by a fall from a ladder.’
    • ‘Along with all the new action comes the inevitable falls and bumps, which means I'm back to having to watch him closely all the time again.’
    tumble, trip, spill, topple, stumble, slip
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A controlled act of falling, especially as a stunt or in martial arts.
      ‘rolling properly into a fall minimizes hurt’
      • ‘In the beginner's class, students take almost no falls except for simple backward ukemi.’
      • ‘So children and youth must learn the techniques of soft falls or turnovers what is developed during continuous training.’
      • ‘If the balance was not good you would fall and since the exercises were always vigorous, a fall could seriously hurt you.’
      • ‘In aikido, for example, the roll is usually an elliptical fall rather than circular.’
      • ‘An athlete's aim in each is to prove their control of the bout by pinning an opponent's shoulders to the mat, a move known as a fall which automatically ends a match.’
      • ‘By taking throws time after time, one must learn how to take falls and overcome the fear of being thrown.’
      • ‘They tend to be fight sequences, stair falls, motorbike stunts, very high falls and those involving pyrotechnics.’
      • ‘Capoeira blends dance and combat movement and falls under the rubric of martial arts.’
      • ‘On the other hand, the male contestants made a successful use of risky throwing techniques involving falls of the attacking contestants.’
    2. 1.2Sport A move which pins the opponent's shoulders on the ground for a count of three.
      • ‘He then did a springboard senton but Hart went to count the fall but Kash pulled him out of the ring.’
      • ‘Armed with nothing but a camera to record the two falls, two submissions or a knockout, I shall report back to you next week from my hospital bed.’
      • ‘A fall from the ring counts as two knockdowns, with three knockdowns resulting in a loss just like a knockout.’
      • ‘The outcome was two falls, no submissions and a brace of yellow cards.’
      • ‘Monty Brown pinned Sabu in 8: 35 in an Extreme rules match, which meant falls count anywhere.’
    3. 1.3A downward difference in height between parts of a surface.
      ‘at the corner of the massif this fall is interrupted by other heights of considerable stature’
      descent, declivity, slope, downward slope, downward slant, incline
      View synonyms
  • 2A thing which falls or has fallen.

    ‘in October came the first fall of snow’
    ‘a rock fall’
    • ‘In the high mountains, where there are large falls of snow, there can also be avalanches.’
    • ‘At the first fall of snow, Jimmy and Gordon Todd are out clearing the roads.’
    • ‘We awoke this morning, after promises all weekend of disruptive falls of snow, to a tiny white dusting, a little more fell soon after but for now that seems to be it.’
    • ‘A few years ago the dramatic scenes of a hotel at Scarborough succumbing to cliff falls made national news.’
    • ‘Schools and mills were closed by a heavy fall of snow, the first of the winter.’
    • ‘I well remember my third birthday when we had a heavy fall of snow.’
    • ‘In the Elliot district, which it was declared a disaster area in July following heavy falls, light snow fell again yesterday.’
    • ‘Councillors branded it ‘diabolical’ blaming KCC for being too slow in dealing with the heavy falls of snow of January 8.’
    • ‘Thursday the weather was lousy with snow and sleet showers being forecast and some heavy falls of snow likely.’
    • ‘The line outside the theater had disappeared and was slowly being replaced by a steady fall of snow.’
    • ‘I remember waking to fresh falls of snow, the muffled stillness, and the sense of a world transformed.’
    • ‘Accidents took place during last weekend, due to the falls of snow and icy conditions.’
    • ‘The sudden fall of raindrops on the ceramic shingles roused Dr. Ichiro Sato from a dreamless sleep.’
    • ‘Telegrams from various other parts of the country reported heavy falls of snow during the night and it was feared young lambs and early vegetation had suffered considerably.’
    • ‘Meanwhile the locked out picket line remains in place, in spite of the onset of winter with its zero overnight temperatures, strong winds, rain, sleet, and light falls of snow.’
    • ‘Shanghai had several light falls of snow with the lowest temperature recorded in the downtown area reaching 4.6 degrees below zero.’
    • ‘Among the other news which did manage to squeeze its way into the paper was a report of heavy falls of snow in Wharfedale.’
    • ‘Management decided it was unsafe for miners to continue working as the coalface was hit by falls of rock and debris from the roof, and flooding.’
    • ‘Oh, the house was warm enough, but if there was a heavy fall of snow, it might prevent the midwife and doctor from reaching the house in time.’
    • ‘He also says the cold weather has meant good falls of snow at the ski fields.’
    1. 2.1A sudden onset or arrival.
      ‘the fall of darkness’
      • ‘If they are able, they may slow down time itself and forestall the fall of night. If not, there is always another chance; the fall of night will bring dreams that enlighten future journeys.’
      • ‘With the fall of darkness, it shuts down its solar collectors.’
    2. 2.2A waterfall or cascade.
      ‘we camped upriver from the falls’
      [in names] ‘Niagara Falls’
      • ‘At the foot of the falls, we clambered out and up, past cascades and pools to the top.’
      • ‘Robert Keller suggests that Holmes did indeed meet his death at the falls, but came back for subsequent adventures as ‘the world's first consulting ghost’.’
      • ‘Even with the roaring falls, you could still hear the sweet melody of the birds and the rustling leaves by the wind.’
      • ‘With water cascading down from a height of 4,500 ft. and splitting into five smaller falls, the Kempty waterfalls offers a panoramic view.’
      • ‘There were other falls, other cascades and exciting spurts of white water in the canyon, and also quiet stretches so clear that each stone lay as if painted on the creek bed.’
      • ‘The steps are crowned with statues and, again, fountains, which make them a combination of sprouting water and cascading falls.’
      • ‘If you can, try to visit the falls in the spring as it is ungodly hot and humid in the summer.’
      • ‘However, when water level is high, the falls combine to form one gigantic fall.’
      • ‘Flowing over mossy ledges or cascading into deep pools, these falls are well worth a weekend visit.’
      • ‘Cascading in 30-foot tiers, the falls are accessible by trails starting from the park's visitor center.’
      • ‘Miraculously, he came out alive and unharmed downstream at the bottom of the falls.’
      • ‘The sound of the falls is more like music than like roaring water.’
      • ‘Parallel rivers fall to the Baltic Sea (Gulf of Bothnia) in rapids and falls, many of which have hydroelectric power stations.’
      • ‘The captain turned the ship to the starboard side, bracing the crew for the rapids and falls ahead.’
      • ‘It's 30 miles upriver to the falls and, as we tunnel deeper into the Devil's Canyon, the river becomes slowly more sinister, wreathed with mist olive green.’
      • ‘It feels good to be among the hills once more, especially when we hike the short distance from the village up to the succession of tumbling falls known as the Cascades des Anglais.’
      • ‘Farther west, the Columbia churned with falls and rapids.’
      • ‘Then came Bell Gorge, its waters dropping 100 metres through a series of pools and falls and next the thin strip of Lennard Gorge, caught in the grip of two steep cliffs.’
      • ‘The water from the falls had been passing several km through dense forests, where varieties of high value medicinal plants could be found.’
      • ‘First he climbs up the sheer rock of the falls and builds a small dam with stones and mud.’
      waterfall, cascade, cataract, chute, torrent
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3literary A downward turn in a melody.
      ‘that strain again, it had a dying fall’
      • ‘The men begin singing Shalom Aleichem, swaying with the rise and fall of the melody.’
      • ‘When notation did appear in the 9th century, it indicated the rise and fall of the melodies without exact specification of pitches.’
      • ‘After a few builds and falls, the scherzo gives way to a gorgeous, lush melody of a kind normally associated with Rachmaninoff.’
      • ‘The sweeping rise and fall of the melody settled softly into her mind.’
    4. 2.4The way in which something falls or hangs.
      ‘the fall of her hair’
      • ‘White hair hang in a straight fall from my head to mid-back.’
      • ‘The folds of the drapery, the fall of the curtains, had been arranged and rearranged, by Adolph and Rosa, with that nicety of eye which characterizes their race.’
    5. 2.5The parts or petals of a flower which bend downwards, especially the outer perianth segments of an iris.
      • ‘Blue-white standards with black falls and a yellow sunburst pattern circling the red beards will surely dazzle any iris lover.’
      • ‘Originally most bearded irises had droopy falls (the petals that hang down).’
      • ‘‘George’ has plum-purple petals and darker purple falls, with tiny markings of yellow and white.’
      • ‘Crested irises have a comb-like crest along the lower half of the falls, instead of a beard.’
      • ‘The beards are the hairs that grow in the center of the falls.’
  • 3A decrease in size, number, rate, or level.

    ‘a big fall in unemployment’
    • ‘The central bank attributed the steady plunge of the gross national savings rate to a rapid fall of savings in the household sector.’
    • ‘At the same time the rate of falls eased in most southern regions, with homes in the South-West showing the first price rises since January.’
    • ‘The dollar suffered its biggest fall against the Yen for more than a year.’
    • ‘The rate of the fall was slower than the 16.2 percent plunge in June, the Economic Development Board said.’
    • ‘Export orders, stable in the previous quarter, had declined with more firms reporting a fall than a growth in orders.’
    • ‘The CBI Distributive Trades Survey recently showed a fall at its fastest rate in 20 years.’
    • ‘The fall in prices would be greater than the fall not only in their wage rates but also in the overall average of wage rates.’
    • ‘Five patients had an initial rise of CD4 and CD8 cell counts during the first week of illness, followed by a fall of both cell counts.’
    • ‘More recent reports have tended to come out with lower growth rates, although the falls of the last two years have played a small part in that.’
    • ‘It's reported that when the Pope visits a city in the United States, the crime rate takes a dramatic fall.’
    • ‘Essentially, the long downturn resulted from the sharp fall of the profit rate and the long time it took to recover.’
    • ‘Excessive production of any good - be it cars or shoes or bananas - means that unless new markets can be found, the price of that product falls and profits collapse.’
    • ‘Recent stock market falls offered a sobering reminder of how mere economic concerns can quickly look like crises.’
    • ‘A rate fall is a good opportunity for borrowers to dust down their home loans and see whether they can save money by switching elsewhere.’
    decline, fall-off, drop, dropping off, decrease, cut, lessening, lowering, dip, diminishing, dwindling, reduction, plummet, plunge, slump, deterioration, downswing
    View synonyms
  • 4A defeat or downfall.

    ‘the fall of the government’
    • ‘Professor Child's book should be read by anyone who is interested in the decline and fall of communism in East Germany.’
    • ‘He compared the fall of the Soviet Union to the rise of new media.’
    • ‘Certainly, North Korean trade and production has collapsed since the fall of the USSR.’
    • ‘That development is the decline and fall of the Russian empire.’
    • ‘Medecins Sans Frontieres became the first major aid agency to quit Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban.’
    • ‘What we found in making these selections, is that it is all too easy to moan about the decline and fall of popular culture.’
    • ‘After the decline and fall of the Roman Empire it fell to the monasteries of Europe to preserve and pass on learning.’
    • ‘The battle between Enigorio and Enigonhahetgea reminds one of the fall of Satan in Christian lore.’
    • ‘Are we watching the beginning of the decline and fall of the American empire?’
    • ‘Argentina's swift defeat hastened the fall of the military dictatorship and the restoration of democracy.’
    • ‘The essay might signal the decline and fall of literacy, or it might have been written by a bright kid who was bored and wanted to try something a bit different in a routine essay.’
    • ‘What is presented here is a discussion of the most widely favoured explanations for Britain's imperial decline and fall.’
    • ‘I've watched the spread of communism and the fall of communism, the spread of fascism and the fall of fascism.’
    • ‘It is sixty years since the fall of the Third Reich, and the hunted monster is now a pathetic and doddering old man in his nineties.’
    • ‘Omar then left Afghanistan for Pakistan after the fall of the Taliban in 2001.’
    • ‘We have a younger generation coming up since the fall of the shah.’
    downfall, ruin, ruination, collapse, failure, decline, deterioration, degeneration, destruction, overthrow, demise
    surrender, surrendering, capitulation, yielding, giving in, submission, acquiescence, succumbing, resignation, laying down of arms
    View synonyms
    1. 4.1A person's moral decline.
      • ‘The decline and fall of a mere meritocrat in a world of privilege is the theme of this novel.’
      • ‘As a theologian, I would say that homosexuality, like all sin, has its roots in the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.’
      • ‘He floats quietly but soon sinks into the water symbolizing his final moral fall.’
      • ‘Resignations and falls from high office can seem a harsh fate but there is usually a considerable silver lining, as Political Editor Simon McGee reports’
      • ‘But Melon subjects the ladies to a graphic account of his decline and fall.’
      • ‘His dramatic exit resolved the paradoxes of his life and arguably saved him a very public decline and fall.’
      • ‘No one is saying why, but his blocking skills likely have some thing to do with his sudden fall from grace.’
      • ‘In the supposed rise of the extreme right, mainstream politicians imagine their own decline and fall, and their isolation from the people.’
    2. 4.2The lapse of humankind into a state of sin, ascribed in traditional Jewish and Christian theology to the disobedience of Adam and Eve as described in Genesis.
      • ‘And instead of original sin leading to the Fall of Man, we fear the degradation of Nature by an apparently malevolent human species.’
      • ‘In the biblical story, the Fall of Man follows his eating from the fruit of the tree of knowledge.’
      • ‘The author's claim that the biblical creation story associates woman with ‘inborn evil’ relies upon a Christian interpretation of the Fall of Man story in Genesis, which ascribes the dogma of Original Sin to Eve's eating the apple.’
      • ‘The poet, invoking the ‘Heav'nly Muse ’, states his theme, the Fall of Man through disobedience, and his aim, which is no less than to ‘justifie the wayes of God to men’.’
      • ‘The human animal monster, as the traditional signifier of sin and inhumanity, reflects the internalisation of the myth of the Fall of Man.’
      sin, sinning, wrongdoing, transgression, error, yielding to temptation, offence, lapse, fall from grace, backsliding
      View synonyms
  • 5North American Autumn.

    ‘that fall Roosevelt was elected to his first term’
    • ‘In the spring, even as the air begins to warm, the ground's frost front that began the previous fall is still moving down.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, some new ads appeared in the New York City subways this past fall.’
    • ‘In addition, I'd like to wish everyone a great fall and winter season, and may the weather be good to us.’
    • ‘Students returning in the fall are expected to protest the changes in multicultural affairs.’
    • ‘I believe that the May 2005 election date was to stand as is, but future dates may be moved to the fall.’
    • ‘They are one of the last warblers to leave their breeding grounds in the fall, and one of the first to return in the spring.’
    • ‘In the fall, they move down in the soil, usually below the frost line, to spend the winter.’
    • ‘It occurs once in the spring, the Vernal Equinox, and once in the fall, the Autumnal Equinox.’
    • ‘Viral pneumonia occurs more often in the fall and winter than in the spring and summer.’
    • ‘On the farm, there is a ritual - the spring work, that of summer, the fall harvest, a winter of repair.’
    • ‘We are hoping for 20,000 signatures for when we give the petition to the City this fall.’
    • ‘The best time to divide day lilies is in early spring as new growth emerges or in the fall after flowering is complete.’
    • ‘Last fall, I moved away from home to attend a high school in a nearby city.’
    • ‘The leaves are used as hiding places for insects in the fall, winter and spring.’
    • ‘In the fall, autumn leaves will bring a change of color to the coastline.’
    • ‘In the fall, remove all fallen leaves on the ground below the plants, and dispose of them.’
    • ‘He will have a prominent role in the campaign as we move to the fall.’
    • ‘Summer is the season when the promises of fall, winter and spring come due.’
    • ‘The recording was made in the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York City in the fall of 2002.’
    • ‘Mating season commonly takes place during the fall and winter seasons, but can occur at any time throughout the year.’
  • 6rare A flock of woodcock.

    ‘there is a fall of woodcock in the round wood above the dell’
    • ‘He was returning home at noon through the gardens, when he perceived there had been a great fall of woodcock in the night.’
    • ‘Much later we learned we had stumbled upon a fall of woodcock.’
    • ‘When there has been a large fall of woodcock during the night, birds may be found at times in the strangest places.’
    • ‘A fall of woodcocks skimmed a tree-ringed meadow.’
    • ‘Early and late falls of woodcock add to the excitement of the day.’


  • be riding (or heading) for a fall

    • informal Be acting in a reckless way that is likely to end in trouble or disaster.

      ‘with your present attitude, you're riding for a fall’
      • ‘There is no question that those who lock themselves into a fixed way of reading reality are riding for a fall, because, as Eugene Fama put it, ‘Life always has a fat tail.’’
      • ‘Certainly nothing in this suggests sterling is riding for a fall if the government decides not to enter the Euro-zone for the foreseeable future.’
      • ‘Any company so foolish as to promote something that looked and felt so much like a guarantee as this would be riding for a fall.’
      • ‘Governments that think low interest rates are always electorally rewarding are riding for a fall.’
      • ‘If you like, this is the unregulated hinterland, reminiscent of timeshare properties, where investors could be riding for a fall!’
      • ‘Look out little Johnny, cause you're riding for a fall.’
      • ‘But as it happens, there is a good reason for thinking that the pound might be riding for a fall - and that is the size of Britain's trade deficit.’
      • ‘They are all warning him that if he goes through with his plan he will be riding for a fall and risking the eclipse of the dynasty in Syria.’
  • fall between two stools

    • Fail to be or take one of two satisfactory alternatives.

      ‘the work fell between two stools, being neither genuinely popular nor truly scholarly’
      • ‘The play falls between two stools; social commentary and outright melodrama and does not sit happily on either.’
      • ‘I felt that the game fell between two stools in that it was supposed to be scary yet it presented itself as an extremely tacky 1950s horror film.’
      • ‘We seem to fall between two stools because the modern premises that we would like to move into are far too expensive and the older mill buildings tend to have water gushing in through the roof.’
      • ‘This car falls between two stools for me: it's not a proper sports car or a proper family car and for this money you could afford to get a nice one of each and probably have money left over for a nice motorbike too.’
      • ‘Talking about his book during a recent visit to Chennai, the author suggested it ran the risk of falling between two stools since cricket fans may think it had too much history and historians may feel it has too much cricket.’
      • ‘Ill-defined, the show falls between two stools.’
      • ‘It is not uncommon to see such works falling between two stools: they are political statements, yet because they are works of art their political message is thought to be exempt from rigorous examination.’
      • ‘For some critics, the romanzo-saggio falls between two stools: it is neither exacting philosophy nor complex fiction.’
      • ‘Endeavouring to answer the needs of a severely underfed local academic discourse, yet at the same time attempting to provide an introduction to a broader audience, it sometimes falls between two stools.’
      • ‘In certain instances, this is the book's weakness in that it falls between two stools, being truly neither one nor the other.’
  • fall foul (or north americanafoul) of

    • Come into conflict with.

      ‘one of his songs has fallen foul of censorship regulations’
      • ‘She fell foul of planning regulations imposed by her former employer, after hosting hospitality events.’
      • ‘Vans that simply run from warehouse to retail outlet are less likely to fall foul of the opportunist thief as these are both theoretically secure areas.’
      • ‘As a leading user of live animals for experiments, this scientific research company fell foul of animal rights activists.’
      • ‘Qobadi was the second leading Iranian film figure in less than a month to fall foul of tighter U.S. immigration policy.’
      • ‘He fell afoul of the administration over the banking regulations intended to combat money laundering in the anti-terrorism bill.’
      • ‘The sport is already banned in Scotland and looks likely to fall foul of similar bans in England and Wales.’
      • ‘I figured I was in a small minority of people who fell afoul of the polygraph.’
      • ‘The building's one small lift is likely to fall foul of new disabled access laws.’
      • ‘Wilberfoss' batsmen fell foul of Daley Wharton who captured 5 for 19 in a nine-over spell which had them all out for 102.’
      • ‘His humanist ideals fell foul of the Roman Catholic Church, but he wouldn't relent, and by 1525 the Reformation had arrived.’
      • ‘Insiders say that Home Office lawyers warned him his measures were likely to fall foul of the courts; but he pressed on.’
      • ‘Under Westminster rules, he would have been perfectly entitled to receive money from sub-letting the office but he fell foul of the rules because he did not declare it.’
      • ‘He said more than 200 businesses a month fell foul of bogus registration agencies, which often used threatening language and headed newspaper.’
      • ‘The traditional spy story finally petered out in the late 1980s with the end of the Cold War, falling foul of new political realities in the era of ‘Glasnost’ and the fall of the Berlin Wall.’
      • ‘The 57-year-old fell foul of the law when he claimed income support, council tax and housing benefit after becoming the town crier’
      • ‘But his first attempt to open an ice cream parlour at Weeton, near Harrogate, fell foul of Harrogate planners so he moved to Jervaulx, near Ripon.’
      • ‘The new ro-ro ferry service from St Margaret's Hope to Gills Bay in Caithness fell foul of the weather at the weekend, with all sailings on Saturday cancelled.’
      • ‘You will most likely fall foul of the Inland Revenue, for example, if you ‘give’ your house away but continue to live in it.’
      • ‘Opponents claim such a move would be a gross violation of civil liberties which is likely in Scotland to fall foul of European human rights legislation.’
      • ‘The weekend's matches fell foul of the weather once again - the most notable casualty being, as predicted, the fourth round of the York Winter League.’
  • fall in (or into) line

    • Conform with others.

      ‘she defiantly pledges not to fall into line with the masses’
      • ‘This decision today, which is remarkable, first, because three of the judges who delayed the election fell in line with eight of their colleagues on the 9th Circuit and said, no delay.’
      • ‘GAA clubs too could be facilitated if their requirements fell into line with the club programme.’
      • ‘Since she fell into line with Howard on the issue of asylum seekers, many in the Left have deserted the party in its hour of need.’
      • ‘Mortgage holders are expected to benefit when the bank falls into line with other banks by cutting interest rates ahead of group profit figures due on Thursday.’
      • ‘Even his language on posters fell into line with the exhortative tone on Soviet posters when they urged, ‘Let us all fulfill the plan of the great projects.’’
      • ‘This is to make sure results from the UK falls into line with results from the rest of Europe, where voting is traditionally carried out on a Sunday.’
      • ‘The media, unsurprisingly, gave the whole show a free ride and the arts community fell into line.’
      • ‘The establishment of Ash Schools in Lebanon falls in line with the attempts of the Sunni community to offer Islamic religion to students.’
      • ‘They all fell in line with the view that this incident was a horrendous event and that Bowen had to be severely punished.’
      • ‘People were frightened and then, McCarthy was blackballing all of these writers with the liberal views and soon, they all fell in line.’
      • ‘Disregarding the illogic of objecting to so-called evil only one day of the week, the town council fell in line and residents were encouraged to neither trick nor treat.’
      • ‘‘It's not a case of one person's the boss and everyone else falls into line, as Ernie Nicholls would have it,’ says Mr Duell.’
      • ‘While Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752 and most of Shetland fell in line in the late 19th century, Foula remains the only part of western Europe to stick to what was called the ‘old ways’.’
      • ‘So spooked were they that rather than offer a viable alternative, they meekly fell in line with a hideous policy prescription, a decision that continues to haunt them.’
      • ‘American pressure is being sharply felt in Mexico, which is not an Opec member but traditionally falls into line with the organisation's decisions.’
      • ‘The news media both turned a contemptuous eye on war protestors and fell in line with the government's official war policy.’
      • ‘The results fell in line almost exactly with Paula's comments.’
      • ‘The U.S. government fell in line with that approach.’
      • ‘In this, it appears that my local school district's program to shore up the character of our children falls in line with the lesson plans of the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal.’
      • ‘In spite of record construction levels, there was still no sign that the Irish market would fall victim to oversupply, but price inflation would tail off sharply when supply and demand finally fell into line, he added.’
  • fall in (or out of) love (with someone)

  • fall into place

    • (of a series of events or facts) begin to make sense.

      ‘once he knew what to look for, the theory fell quickly into place’
      • ‘There is too much of the unexpected in a first hearing; after a second hearing things begin to fall into place.’
      • ‘In recent days, those missing pieces have finally begun to fall into place.’
      • ‘We have found that once a child has cracked mental arithmetic everything else begins to fall into place.’
      • ‘Plans are falling into place and it promises to be one of the biggest events ever.’
      • ‘Once all of the details start falling into place everything will make sense; I promise.’
      • ‘We look forward to watching the way the development progresses from here as the pieces in this massive and complex jigsaw begin to fall into place.’
      • ‘Sometimes, when things are falling around me, I don't have the patience to sense they might be falling into place.’
      • ‘There are several straws in the wind and the jigsaw pieces have begun to fall into place for a sustained increase in the gold price.’
      • ‘I was also comforted to know that in Christ I had ‘new’ life, and things began to fall into place.’
      • ‘Bit by bit, in the perceptions of ordinary folk, the pieces of this jigsaw are beginning to fall into place.’
      • ‘My disease wasn't progressing much, and my work all fell into place, and I began to get somewhere.’
      • ‘All you need to do is stay focused and follow your sixth sense, and everything will fall into place.’
      • ‘The programme of events is falling into place.’
      • ‘Still, her true calling was realism, and about eight years ago, things really began falling into place for her.’
      • ‘Things begin to fall into place, and your life becomes a glide instead of a struggle.’
      • ‘There is a real sense of satisfaction as the pieces of the mystery start to fall into place and make sense.’
      • ‘Finally everything falls into place and emerges with a precision so remarkable that it cannot be chance.’
      • ‘We get the feeling that despite all of the supernatural events falling into place, despite Beatrice's story being convincing, at some level he did not believe what was going on.’
      • ‘Greg remained stressed throughout most of it, but as things started to fall into place, he began to calm down.’
      • ‘A missing piece of Japan's recent economic recovery is beginning to fall into place.’
      become clear, come home to one, make sense, dawn, register, get through, sink in
      View synonyms
  • fall on stony ground

    • (of words or a suggestion) be ignored or badly received.

      ‘their constructive advice fell on stony ground’
      • ‘The prime minister's offer will fall on stony ground, however.’
      • ‘If even a handful of anthropologists were naive and unwitting collaborators of colonialism, and there is not much evidence of it here, their efforts fell on stony ground.’
      • ‘The idea of Franco-British union fell on stony ground.’
      • ‘Demands to review the project fell on stony ground - if it was to be completed on schedule, no delay could be considered.’
      • ‘He also proposed the word ‘archaeography’, but that one fell on stony ground.’
      • ‘A parachute centre's plans to extend the number of days it operates fell on stony ground when the application came before the town council.’
      • ‘The book actually began in Malaysia, during a four hour taxi ride, when the author's mind conjured up a scene which he knew was just too good to let fall on stony ground.’
      • ‘The parish council at Barlby padlocked the £20,000 park after its appeals to the youngsters fell on stony ground.’
      • ‘Like all mail shots some probably fell on stony ground, whereas others may have attracted a little interest.’
      • ‘A suggestion of trying Gandhi's method falls on stony ground.’
  • fall over oneself to do something

    • informal Be excessively eager to do something.

      ‘critics fell over themselves to compliment him’
      • ‘Why are celebrities falling over themselves to become children's authors - Madonna is already on her fourth title, while Paul McCartney's first tale of Wirral the Squirrel is being published this coming autumn.’
      • ‘The global audience is limited, so advertisers won't be falling over themselves to redirect their budgets.’
      • ‘Supermarkets are falling over themselves to provide meat-free ready meals - demand rose by 16% in the last year, and the market is now worth £539m.’
      • ‘I find it quite ironic that the State governments in Australia are falling over themselves to be the biotechnology centre of excellence but they won't allow that technology to be used once it's been developed.’
      • ‘No one fell over themselves to contradict him either.’
      • ‘It used to be said that post-reunification Berlin was the biggest building site around, as construction companies fell over themselves to build bigger and better hotels.’
      • ‘In the North-east the BBC fell over itself to support the ill-fated assembly, yet failed recently to mention a scathing report from a parliamentary committee on the matter.’
      • ‘Critics have been falling over themselves to heap praise on the musician after she brought fans to their feet with stirring performances.’
      • ‘Nowadays, publishers are falling over themselves to bring conservative books to a mainstream audience.’
      • ‘Yet when Henman almost fainted with fright as he began his second-round match, the pundits fell over themselves to point out how quickly he regained his composure.’
      • ‘People fell over themselves to do good things for Klemperer.’
      • ‘Wine consumption grew, the industry was given a fillip and merchants who had watched the dust settle on their French-inspired lists were now falling over themselves to buy wine from exotic-sounding places such as Mendoza and Coonawarra.’
      • ‘His indictment of the tabloid press seemed vindicated when its TV critics began falling over themselves to say how brilliant the broadcast had been.’
      • ‘The elite fell over itself to testify in the book's favor during the trial, and the defense was able to produce a star-studded list of experts, including E. M. Forster and Rebecca West.’
      • ‘Music critics fell over themselves to praise ‘The Message,’ treating it as the poetry of the streets - as the elite media has characterized hip-hop ever since.’
      • ‘Financial institutions are falling over themselves to offer wealth-management services.’
      • ‘After a wet summer garden centres will be falling over themselves to shift excess patio furniture.’
      • ‘Committee members almost fell over themselves to praise her ‘calm’ and ‘rational’ speech, but such sentiments count for little when set against hard economics.’
      • ‘I met him once, when he came in for a development meeting at a tv production company I used to work at, and the whole office fell over themselves to look after him.’
      • ‘Having made such a splash at Sundance, it is little surprise to find the US critics falling over themselves to deliver a positive verdict.’
  • fall prey to

  • fall short (of)

    • 1(of a missile) fail to reach its target.

      • ‘Some shells fell short of their targets and others broke into pieces in the air.’
      • ‘On July 10, India launched its new, long-range Agni III missile from the Orissa Coast which fell short of its intended target 1800 miles away.’
      • ‘An Iraqi surface-to-surface missile that was being fired at our troops fell short of its target.’
      • ‘It fell short of the intended target and bounced harmlessly off the table in front of me.’
      1. 1.1Be deficient or inadequate.
        ‘the total vote fell short of the required two-thirds majority’
        • ‘A prolific scholar and facile writer, he risks turning his otherwise fine book into a screed against all who fell short of total moral courage.’
        • ‘Although it falls short of the 2002 total of 156,120 units, this will be a welcome improvement on last year's figure of 145,200.’
        • ‘A proposal to extend extra temporary benefits to jobless Americans fell short by one vote in the Senate Tuesday.’
        • ‘Despite a large majority, the vote fell short of the required two-thirds majority.’
        • ‘For all the potential this project had, it falls short and disappoints.’
        • ‘The expected move, while welcomed by some health advocates, falls short of a total ban planned for Scotland and advocated for the rest of Britain as well.’
        • ‘However, the collective total may still fall short of the required 55% threshold.’
        • ‘The vote on whether to vote fell short by 6 votes even though it won 54 to 46.’
        • ‘His prescription also falls short by not addressing how our current electoral rules waste votes and suppress potential participation.’
        • ‘The failure of the Board to execute works is attributable to deficient planning with the result physical achievements fell short by 57 per cent.’
        • ‘It was clear that in the key marginals the Labour vote was falling short of what the national polls were saying.’
        • ‘Many women will do anything and everything to avoid falling short, being found to be inadequate or wrong or at fault: in fact being criticised in any way at all.’
        • ‘Nader's vote fell short of the highly publicized goal of five percent, which would have given public funding to the Green Party for its 2004 presidential convention and campaign.’
        • ‘No matter how we try, we all fall short - well short of perfection.’
        • ‘If he falls short of 50 percent of the vote, there will be a run-off three weeks later.’
        • ‘Senate Republicans fell short of the 60 votes needed to halt a Democrat filibuster, and the Act's 16 sunset provisions are therefore bound to expire at the end of the year.’
        • ‘In the end, the majority of WIBC delegates voted yes, but Single Membership fell short of the two-thirds vote needed for adoption.’
        • ‘However, this total would still fall short of the construction costs and the football club are currently seeking a commercial partner to make up the shortfall.’
        • ‘While not a total disappointment, it fell short of expectation.’
        • ‘Although a seasonal ban falls short of the total ban that we have been advocating it is a very big step in the right direction.’
        fail to meet, fail to reach, fail to live up to
        be deficient, be inadequate, be insufficient, be wanting, be lacking, disappoint, fail, fail to live up to one's expectations
        not come up to scratch
        View synonyms
  • fall to pieces

  • fall victim to

    • Be hurt, killed, damaged, or destroyed by.

      ‘he fell victim to a fatal blood infection’
      • ‘Adverse effects of high consumption levels, however, lead to Irish people falling victim to more accidents and violence, new research shows.’
      • ‘If we adopt the stance that it's fine to disregard generalisations such as cultural relativism we may actually be falling victim to just such a thing.’
      • ‘A mother whose young daughter allegedly fell victim to the abuse condemned the BNP for turning her ordeal into a race issue.’
      • ‘If accuracy and nuance sometimes fall victim to all this rhetoric, well, there's a war on, folks.’
      • ‘I am concerned that companies are falling victim to online commercial extortion and we are not being told.’
      • ‘A 16-year-old boy was left with a black eye and facial bruising after falling victim to what appears to have been the first reported incident of its kind in the borough.’
      fall ill with, be stricken with, become infected with, catch, develop, contract, pick up
      succumb to, be overcome by, be overwhelmed by
      come down with, go down with
      View synonyms
  • take the fall

    • informal Incur blame or punishment in the place of another person.

      ‘he kept his mouth shut and let McFarlane take the fall’
      • ‘If there's a problem, he denies it or finds someone else to take the fall for him.’
      • ‘If someone backed me up in a lie and then took the fall for me when it was exposed, I'd have confidence in him too.’
      • ‘European governments continue to allow employers the privilege of using cheap foreign labor while making asylum seekers take the fall for clandestine migration.’
      • ‘They're not going to take the fall if someone ordered them to do something, right?’
      • ‘It relieves the truly guilty parties of the need to decide who among them must take the fall.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • fall about

    • Laugh uncontrollably.

      ‘audiences used to fall about when he shrugged his shoulders’
      • ‘The audience simply fell about in uncontrollable laughter as this new comic with the gift of mimicry and languages took them on a journey exploring human foibles.’
      • ‘When they first told us that story we were all falling about laughing.’
      • ‘Like most sound people I fell about the place laughing when Bertie appointed the little corporal to the position of Minister for Defence.’
      • ‘As they both fall about laughing, any fear that they were going to give one line mumbled answers instantly becomes less and less likely.’
      • ‘The girls will screech when she says this, fall about laughing, because for someone so tiny and sweet, the incongruity of these words is hilarious, and she knows it.’
      guffaw, chuckle, chortle, cackle, howl, roar, ha-ha, fall about, hoot with laughter, roar with laughter, shake with laughter, be convulsed with laughter, dissolve into laughter, split one's sides, be doubled up
      chuckle, chortle, guffaw, giggle, titter, snigger, snicker, cackle, howl, roar, tee-hee, burst out laughing, hoot with laughter, roar with laughter, shake with laughter, be convulsed with laughter, dissolve into laughter, split one's sides, hold one's sides, be doubled up
      View synonyms
  • fall apart (or to pieces)

    • 1Break up, come apart, or disintegrate.

      ‘their marriage is likely to fall apart’
      • ‘Last time around, many expressways just fell apart, disintegrated after a few months.’
      • ‘This begs for a slow cooked lamb stew where the meat falls apart on your spoon and the potatoes dissolve into a big, meaty broth.’
      • ‘Monkfish is the heavyweight contender of the fish world, so strong it can easily be reheated a couple of times without falling apart.’
      • ‘The broccoli tended to fall apart and the snow peas overcooked too easily, so I left them out.’
      • ‘I lost a burger down the gap in the grill - the burgers weren't the best quality and fell apart very easily.’
      fall to pieces, come to pieces, fall to bits, come to bits
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1(of a person) lose one's capacity to cope.
        ‘Angie fell to pieces because she had lost everything’
        • ‘Though outwardly they maintained a facade of happiness, inwardly they began to fall apart.’
        • ‘It is when we cannot manage life, when the level of stress outweighs mechanisms for coping with stress, that we fall apart.’
        • ‘It wasn't just her eating disorder, she began to fall apart in other ways, which at first we thought were typical early teenage behavior.’
        break down, have a breakdown, go to pieces, fall to pieces, lose control, lose one's self-control, crumble
        View synonyms
  • fall back

    • Move or turn back; retreat.

      ‘the enemy fell back into a defensive position’
      • ‘Even a Mercedes falls back to a respectful distance when I rudely pull out in front of it.’
      • ‘She gave the order to retreat, and everyone started falling back to the forest.’
      • ‘As the troops fell back, looters on bicycles braved the continuing shellfire.’
      retreat, withdraw, back off, draw back, pull back, pull away, move away, retire, pull out
      turn tail, flee, take flight, beat a retreat, beat a hasty retreat
      View synonyms
  • fall back on

    • Have recourse to when in difficulty.

      ‘they normally fell back on one of three arguments’
      • ‘If challenged, however, your only recourse is to fall back on the manufacturer's guarantee.’
      • ‘I have adequate savings to fall back on until the pension payment picks up.’
      • ‘Chester has some great memories of Ibrox to fall back on, but is ready for new challenges that await him.’
      • ‘His teaching degree and a year he spent working as a teacher in Dublin was always going to be something he could fall back on.’
      • ‘Even where the composer doesn't quite add anything, there's still the poetry to fall back on.’
      • ‘That way, if one situation didn't have a positive result, I would have others to fall back on.’
      • ‘If disaster strikes again, however, he knows that he has more to fall back on.’
      • ‘Paying cash to avoid Vat means you have no documentation to fall back on should things go wrong.’
      • ‘If getting to the garden centre in your area is a bit of a trek, there's always the high street to fall back on.’
      • ‘A lot of people still have someone, have family to fall back on for support.’
      • ‘You hate to make decisions, and if forced to decide, you'll always fall back on how it was done in the past.’
      • ‘If acting doesn't work out then Porter has plenty other skills to fall back on.’
      • ‘The trust does not have any savings to fall back on and rising costs meant spiralling debts.’
      • ‘Dewar first did a history degree, then law, which would give him a career to fall back on.’
      • ‘It is no longer in existence, so responsibility for the site falls back on to the landowner.’
      • ‘If the South African golfer ever thinks about giving up the day job, he has a nice sideline to fall back on.’
      • ‘Teens who have a conducive family atmosphere to fall back on hardly ever go astray.’
      • ‘Without the safety net of an autocue to fall back on, he probably wouldn't be touring at all.’
      • ‘Older people on fixed incomes don't have any extra sources of revenue to fall back on when inflated bills drop on the doorstep.’
      • ‘All the riches and good things of life are gone and she has no one to fall back on.’
      resort to, turn to, look to, call on, call into play, call into action, call into service, press into service, have recourse to, make use of, use, employ
      rely on, depend on, lean on
      View synonyms
  • fall behind

    • 1Fail to keep up with one's competitors.

      ‘Britain has fallen behind in the space business’
      • ‘Bolton competed well for almost all the first half before falling behind to Diouf's header which the visitors insisted was offside.’
      • ‘Britain fell behind its major competitors on this measure over a century ago and has steadily slid down the R & D investment charts ever since.’
      • ‘The need to win the GHz race forced the company to fall behind competitors - at least from a marketing standpoint - in a number of areas.’
      • ‘Large numbers of international visitors now come for meetings and medical treatment, and that without such services on offer Phuket could fall behind its competitors abroad.’
      • ‘It claims that unless something is done now the country risks falling behind in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.’
      • ‘That said, if they burn cash too slowly, they risk falling behind in the competition to innovate, expand and gain market share.’
      • ‘One theme is Britain's growing awareness of falling behind its competitors, particularly in education, where Germany was the model.’
      • ‘And if you don't stay ahead of your competition, you're invariably going to fall behind.’
      • ‘Growth is to be found in bottled water, sports drinks and juice, areas where the company is falling behind competitors.’
      • ‘You either out-perform the global leaders, create a competitive niche, or fall behind.’
      • ‘We all work too hard to get more money in order to compete with each other, because we find falling behind in the social status that only money provides too painful.’
      • ‘When you fall behind the competition, there's always a temptation to label it unfair.’
      • ‘There is fear that European firms that may have to compete in world markets may fall behind technologically or have to merge completely, so as to reduce the risk of collaboration.’
      • ‘Without such careful preparation in the competitive business of megaproject architecture, a company can easily fall behind.’
      • ‘On the virtual battlefield of the business world, organizations that don't adapt to the latest technology quickly fall behind their competitors.’
      • ‘He said the city could fall behind the competition if its festive lights were not up to their usual high standard.’
      • ‘It was experiencing very rapid growth before the moratorium was put in place, but is now in danger of stagnating, and falling behind our overseas competitors.’
      • ‘The potential for losing revenue and falling behind the competition is high at this stage of the network life cycle.’
      • ‘However, you seem to be falling behind your competitors in China.’
      • ‘If they failed to do so, they risked falling behind their competitors and losing their jobs.’
      1. 1.1Fail to meet a commitment to make a regular payment.
        ‘borrowers falling behind with their mortgage repayments’
        • ‘She started falling behind on her payments and one of her creditors, Spiegel, canceled her card.’
        • ‘Hurricane victims who fall behind on their housing payments could face foreclosures on their homes, losing the only remaining asset that many of them have.’
        • ‘And if you fall behind on your payments, you could lose your home.’
        • ‘U.S. multinationals get the contracts, and when the poor countries fall behind in payments, take over their economies.’
        • ‘As for private homeowners, he said slashing the interest rate will give relief to people who fall behind in their payments.’
        • ‘If you fall behind with your payments, the finance company may terminate the agreement in writing and issue you with a ‘Default Notice’.’
        • ‘Mr Palmer said the real complaint arose from the application of interest to arrears and charges when the couple fell behind with their payments.’
        • ‘She fell behind on her house payments and had to foreclose.’
        • ‘But unsecured loans are preferable as there is less risk of losing your home if you fall behind with payments.’
        • ‘When he fell behind on his payments, he was imprisoned in Rochester Castle and fined a further 1,200 marks for false statements and default.’
        • ‘Tenants causing a minor nuisances or falling behind with their rent will be issued with a warning.’
        • ‘A recent drop in mortgage delinquencies in the US may be a small blip in an otherwise worrying trend that shows more Americans falling behind on housing payments.’
        • ‘Your bank can help itself to money from your current and savings accounts without your consent if you fall behind with your credit-card payments.’
        • ‘In many states, the lender can repossess your car without as much as a telephone call or written notice if you fall behind on one monthly payment.’
        • ‘It shows the increase is almost entirely down to people falling behind on credit card and personal loan payments.’
        • ‘The consequences of not paying it are far more serious than falling behind with a credit card bill.’
        • ‘If you find that you are falling behind with your bills and worried about how to pay your credit debts, follow these tips.’
        • ‘Council tenants should contact their estate manager immediately if they are falling behind with rent payments as a result of the problems’
        • ‘Lenders will vary in how they handle people who fall behind with their mortgage payments but they are all required to take your circumstances into account and to treat you fairly.’
        • ‘The Foundation then fell behind on its debt payments and the bank filed foreclosure papers on the Foundation in December 2001.’
        get into debt, get into arrears, default, be in the red, be late, be overdue
        lag, lag behind, trail, trail behind, be left behind, fall back, drop back, not keep up, lose one's place, not keep pace, bring up the rear
        View synonyms
  • fall down

    • Be inadequate or unsuccessful; fail.

      ‘the deal fell down because there were a lot of unanswered questions’
      • ‘Tuck and everyone at the SQA were confident that would be the case but then fell down on the task.’
      • ‘Of course, this falls down if surfers fail to double-check the authenticity of a site.’
      • ‘Dunblane was where the handgun licensing system fell down catastrophically.’
      • ‘It fell down on information governance, MRSA rates and its stroke unit facilities.’
      • ‘Where the Times fell down was in the awkward split between its two sections.’
      fail, be unsuccessful, not succeed, lack success, not make the grade, not come up to expectations, fall short, fall flat, disappoint
      View synonyms
  • fall for

    • 1Fall in love with.

      ‘she fell for a handsome younger man’
      • ‘Why of all people did she have to fall for the cousin of the one who loves her?’
      • ‘In Norma, forbidden love rears its tragic head as a Druid High Priestess falls for a Roman officer.’
      • ‘Of course, there has to be some kind of love interest, so O'Conner falls for Toretto's sister Mia.’
      • ‘At first she confuses him for a wealthy duke but then falls for him - the two singing love songs to each other in the moonlight on top of the elephant.’
      • ‘It charts the love story of a rich wastrel who falls for a workaholic woman doctor.’
      • ‘Crystal didn't know what to say. It was hard to accept that this man who she was falling for was in love with her after so little a time.’
      • ‘He joins a self-help group whose leader, played by Sheila Henderson, falls for him but her love remains unrequited.’
      • ‘The traditional production shows how the captain's daughter becomes torn between love and duty when she falls for a common sailor.’
      • ‘Allie fought back, trying to keep herself from falling for this tall handsome brute.’
      • ‘Oh, How confusing love is… Denni told me not to fall for someone above my station.’
      • ‘She would definitely not fall for the handsome jock, especially if she barely knew him.’
      • ‘He stood there wondering what cruel fate destined that his best friend would fall for the woman he loved.’
      • ‘I'll bet your house is fine, and you probably loved it before you fell for her pool and tennis court.’
      • ‘When my character fell for one of the farmers and got involved in a love triangle, it was all very scandalous.’
      • ‘This is a time when love is like punishment in that you are falling for somebody unable to reciprocate openly.’
      • ‘Though several men in town are in love with her, she falls for Jake Spoon and accompanies the drive though camps outside it.’
      • ‘La Traviata is an intimate story of family tensions and blighted love, following a Parisian courtesan who falls for a younger man.’
      • ‘In less than a year I had found the love of my life, had her fall for me, and almost lost her as well.’
      • ‘She went from being best friends with Taryn and being in love with Santiago to hating Taryn and slowly falling for Milo.’
      • ‘Well, you can't have stories when one girl who is deprived of love always fall for her cute best friend.’
      fall in love with, become infatuated with, lose one's heart to, take a liking to, take a fancy to, be smitten by, be attracted to, desire
      View synonyms
    • 2Be deceived by (something)

      ‘he didn't expect Duncan to fall for a cheap trick like that’
      • ‘A woman was duped out of £30,000 when she fell for an international e-mail scam.’
      • ‘I believed you - I fell for all the lies you slowly filtered into me.’
      • ‘This is so clearly a joke that I still cannot believe anybody at all fell for it.’
      • ‘Poor patients in Africa fall for these drugs because of their cheap price.’
      • ‘You're not expecting us to fall for that a second time are you?’
      • ‘Sure enough I fell for the blank expression and slightly manic eyes.’
      • ‘While it's not immediately known whether any of the recipients fell for the story, the spam mail has only led to smirks.’
      • ‘We can understand that, but it should not expect the public of New Zealand to fall for that nonsense.’
      • ‘She believes we are falling for a false kind of moral equivalence between democratic societies and tyrannies.’
      • ‘Let us not fall for cheap tactics and propaganda that are designed to divide us.’
      • ‘Come on, do you really expect us to fall for such a childish ploy?’
      • ‘It amazes me that people actually fall for this. Why on Earth would a complete stranger trust you with their money like this?’
      • ‘In fact, we were the last expected people of the whole lot to be falling for a fare like that.’
      • ‘Did he expect me to actually fall for his stupid little flirting ways?’
      • ‘They really believed that the people of Killala and North Mayo would fall for that sort of baloney.’
      • ‘Luckily for its readers, this newspaper would never fall for such cheap tricks.’
      be deceived by, be duped by, be fooled by, be taken in by, accept, believe, trust, be convinced by, have confidence in
      View synonyms
  • fall in

    • Take one's place in a military formation.

      ‘the soldiers fell in by the side of the road’
      • ‘The first thing soldiers in any army do after being rolled out of bed is to fall in for morning formation.’
      • ‘A pair of armed guards fell in at a discreet distance as I made my way back to my rooms.’
      • ‘I set off along that familiar walk toward the workshops, the guards falling in behind me.’
      • ‘If you tell your assault team to fall in as you move in on a suppressed enemy, they'll do just that.’
      • ‘She followed the captain meekly, and two guards fell in beside her, one on either side.’
      get in formation, get in line, line up, take one's position, get in order, get into columns, get into rows
      View synonyms
  • fall in with

    • 1Meet by chance and become involved with.

      ‘he fell in with thieves’
      • ‘The new movie, Love, Honour and Obey, which tells the story of a postman who falls in with criminals, is premiered in London.’
      • ‘Travelers fall in with bands of thieves regularly, and a Good Samaritan is their only hope of rescue.’
      • ‘He fell in with a group of German artists in Paris and eventually went to Berlin, where he met Kandinsky.’
      • ‘In Taiwan, he fell in with a group of creatively minded people, one of whom asked him to film an ethnomusicological documentary he was making.’
      • ‘A Marxist by the time he reached 15, Mullan was a bookworm until he fell in with the wrong crowd, and played truant from school for a whole year, spending his time fighting and drinking.’
      • ‘'Teenagers can just as easily fall in with the wrong crowd and unintentionally become involved in other serious crimes,’ she said.’
      • ‘Fortunately, while studying in Delhi University I fell in with a crowd of cultured Bengalis, who educated me step by joyous step.’
      • ‘I fell in with a group of politically correct activists who I soon discovered treated me differently than their Canadian or American peers.’
      • ‘He fell in with a bad crowd, particularly at the end of the Soviet occupation.’
      • ‘When I first appeared in the street after being thus disguised, I fell in with many who were dressed, equipped and painted as I was, and who fell in with me.’
      • ‘An Essex butcher, Turpin fell in with the wrong sort and became involved with a vicious gang of robbers who preyed on isolated homes.’
      • ‘He fell in with the wrong crowd and turned to dishonesty.’
      • ‘He fell in with the original Happy Valley crowd whose decadent lifestyles were memorably depicted in the book and the film White Mischief.’
      • ‘It was around this time, while working in a bar to make ends meet, that she fell in with Sims Ellison, bass guitarist with a heavy metal band called Pariah.’
      • ‘It's a great novel, somewhat quirky, about an unemployed fugitive English philosopher who goes to France and falls in with a one-armed bandit literally, a thief with one arm.’
      • ‘After leaving school I fell in with some new groups of friends, those from Scouts, from a games club I started, and from college.’
      • ‘Amara watched the group interact with a slight smile on her face. ‘Interesting bunch of people Allison's fell in with,’ she thought.’
      • ‘By contrast, the same ladies saw the team as the kind of bunch they wouldn't want their sons to fall in with.’
      get involved with, take up with, join up with, go around with, string along with, become friendly with, make friends with, strike up a friendship with, start seeing, make the acquaintance of
      View synonyms
    • 2Agree to.

      ‘Rob was happy to fall in with her plans’
      • ‘That's unacceptable, and I won't fall in with that.’
      • ‘If the action is successful, the implications will be far-reaching, affecting 10 local authorities throughout Scotland and forcing them to adapt their admissions criteria to fall in with European law.’
      • ‘Not for the first time, the true Scottish patriots turned out not to be those who meekly fell in with Scotland's establishment consensus - but those who opposed it.’
      • ‘This week he will be asked to fall in with a team schedule that involves a number of social occasions as well as long practice sessions.’
      • ‘In fact I think we gained little or no respect by allowing ourselves to fall in with the consensus.’
      comply with, go along with, support, back, give one's backing to, cooperate with, act in accordance with, obey, yield to, submit to, bow to, defer to, adhere to, conform to
      View synonyms
  • fall on (or upon)

    • 1Attack fiercely or unexpectedly.

      ‘the army fell on the besiegers’
      • ‘The Spirit of the Lord falls upon people like Gideon, Samson, and Saul, who then lead armies that fall upon the enemies of God's people.’
      • ‘He raises the knife to his face, then to the girl's neck, and it is in that moment that the other shadow strikes, falling upon the Shadow-man and attacking it with some unseen weapon.’
      • ‘Neither flinched when the first attackers fell upon them.’
      • ‘Armed with blackjacks they fell upon four citizens.’
      • ‘They fell upon the king's soldiers because of the licentious conduct they had been allowed under Herod's government.’
      attack, assail, assault, make an assault on, fly at, let fly at, launch oneself at, set about, set upon, pounce upon, ambush, surprise, accost, rush, storm, charge
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1Seize enthusiastically.
        ‘she fell on the sandwiches as though she had not eaten in weeks’
        • ‘One of them was seized and crushed like an insect, but others fell upon the beast with renewed fury until it lay dead.’
        • ‘Then, again, seized with a new idea, he fell upon his notebook and the pencil became alive.’
        • ‘Albert seized the opportunity instantly, falling on Theo like a bird of prey, bending him back, knife upraised for the final, triumphant killing blow.’
        • ‘The smokers fall upon their cigarettes with an enthusiasm only other smokers can appreciate.’
        • ‘Then you can fall upon your food in wild desperation and enthusiasm.’
        • ‘When William made to do so for her, she lunged out of the door and fell on him, her slender arms wrapping about him and pulling him close.’
        jump on, spring on, leap on, swoop on, swoop down on, dive at, drop down on, lunge at, bound at, fall on, set on, make a grab for, take by surprise, take unawares, catch off-guard, attack suddenly
        View synonyms
    • 2(of someone's eyes or gaze) be directed towards.

      ‘her gaze fell on the mud-stained coverlet’
      • ‘But his joyous expression faded as his gaze fell upon another girl.’
      • ‘Their anxious gaze falls on her every time she cries.’
      • ‘Her gaze fell upon his satchel and she silently walked towards it.’
      • ‘A few minutes after ringing the doorbell, the hostess opened the door, her eyes fell on the boy and girl with genuine enthusiasm.’
      • ‘LeeAnne was biting into a sandwich when her eyes fell on Morgan and Sasha.’
    • 3Be the responsibility of.

      ‘the cost of tuition should not fall on the student’
      • ‘The burden of manning the attack fell on rookies.’
      • ‘Anyway I knew what I needed for the class, he didn't, so it fell on me to sort out what he hadn't.’
      • ‘Dinner had to be prepared, and it fell on them to do it.’
      • ‘The task of slaughtering the animals fell on the Army.’
      • ‘Responsibility for minimising casualties falls on him.’
      be borne by, be carried by, be the responsibility of, be paid by
      View synonyms
  • fall out

    • 1(of the hair, teeth, etc.) become detached and drop out.

      ‘the chemotherapy made my hair fall out’
      • ‘My hair keeps falling out in clumps again, coming out even as I run fingers through it.’
      • ‘At least I'm not getting hair falling out from stress this time.’
      • ‘She reacted badly to the medication, feeling sick and exhausted all the time, all her hair fell out and, worst of all, she was cut off from her family and friends.’
      • ‘His hair fell out for the second time and he experienced nausea and weakness.’
      • ‘He also has to deal with the possibility that he might go bald, as clumps of his hair have started falling out.’
      • ‘She had the longest hair ever that was falling out in little patches.’
      • ‘One in 10 men reading this is checking his pillow and plughole daily to see if his hair is falling out.’
      • ‘He lost seven stone, his hair fell out and his immune system was attacked by opportunistic infections.’
      • ‘But Val said her lowest point was when her hair fell out.’
      • ‘The victim's hair falls out as the skin becomes covered with large ulcers, and if constant vomiting, diarrhoea and infection don't kill, massive bleeding soon would.’
      • ‘Up until now we have just injected the drug and waited to see if their hair falls out or if they feel sick.’
      • ‘A friend tells me that his hair is falling out, although he is still in his 20s.’
      • ‘It was real, but I got sick and all the hair fell out.’
      • ‘I had so much stress, my hair started falling out.’
      • ‘I developed a rash, my hair started falling out and I wanted to sleep all the time.’
      • ‘And my hair is falling out, I have sores in my mouth, my teeth ache - my whole body aches!’
      • ‘In the wake of a car accident, all Lucas's hair fell out when he was just six.’
      • ‘They seemed to be no better off than their subjects, with hair and teeth falling out and sores like burns on bare faces and hands.’
      • ‘He said that his strong character was tested at the upper school when his hair completely fell out, a condition which is believed to be hereditary in the family.’
      • ‘After continuous treatment, Callum's tumour reappeared at the age of three and the brave youngster's hair fell out.’
    • 2Have an argument.

      ‘he had fallen out with his family’
      • ‘No wonder the publishers were glad to see the back of him after they fell out over issues of payment for the editor's ‘services’.’
      • ‘Sadly the sheer size of the commission proved too much for Papworth; client and architect fell out over money.’
      • ‘She claims that they were friends, but they fell out over Sam's drinking.’
      • ‘Richelieu acted as a go-between when mother and son fell out over her associations with those who were deemed less than trustworthy in the royal court.’
      • ‘We fell out over something quite trivial really.’
      • ‘And there were more family squabbles as he fell out publicly with his brothers, sisters and father.’
      • ‘We fell out with lots of different people but eventually we got it together and got Conor in the band.’
      • ‘The pair later fell out over money and Hubbard moved on.’
      • ‘Already, last summer, the companies fell out over who would control the business and collect the money in the UK, where both have networks.’
      • ‘It was said that the two men fell out over ‘personal matters’.’
      • ‘They're business partners who fell out over a dirty deal.’
      • ‘The various guardians of the under-aged stars fell out over the money which slowly evaporated into the hands of lawyers.’
      • ‘The two groups fell out over differences in ‘approach,’ which included more than the business plan.’
      • ‘The protagonists are ex-college buddies who fell out over a girl called Betty Anne.’
      • ‘The hit TV show has been plagued with rumours of off-screen bitching since the stars reportedly fell out over who was paid the most.’
      • ‘They reportedly fell out because they disagreed on whether to support a peace deal with the interim government.’
      • ‘We once fell out over a coat during Christmas late-night shopping in Coney Street and she - aged nine and a bit - stormed out of Bhs and into the crowds.’
      • ‘He grew up running wild with his cousins on the family commune in Wales - until they all fell out over money’
      • ‘The court heard that the couple had been separated for a while last June when they fell out over the care of their young son.’
      • ‘He may even have been deposed for a brief period after Christmas 1387, until his opponents fell out over the question of who should replace him.’
      quarrel, argue, row, fight, have a row, have a fight, squabble, bicker, have words, disagree, differ, have a difference of opinion, have a disagreement, be at odds, clash, wrangle, get into conflict, get into a dispute, cross swords, lock horns, be at loggerheads, be at each other's throats
      View synonyms
    • 3Leave one's place in a military formation, or on parade.

      ‘the two policemen at the rear fell out of the formation’
      • ‘Any bomber that was damaged and fell out of formation was immediately set upon by a swarm of fighters.’
      • ‘I made an interphone call to the aft station and got a weary reply from one of the weapons system officers saying it looked like we were falling out of position.’
      • ‘I don't remember whether the bombs were dropped before we fell out of formation or sometime after we were down at low altitude.’
      • ‘The other ships in his group had taken heed of the hull pattern; they were starting to fall out of formation and were reorienting for their escape.’
      • ‘Bruiser screamed as his fighter took a salvo of fire from his pursuers and he fell out of formation with Mask and Wheezy.’
      move out of formation, move out of line, get out of line, get out of formation
      View synonyms
    • 4Happen; turn out.

      ‘matters fell out as Stephen arranged’
      • ‘The subject matter falls out as irrelevant, the different views on the same thing are what it's about.’
      • ‘I have actually thought about Sweden, which is hardly a hardship post and part of the reason that Sweden is so interesting is because I have a rather fascinating result that falls out of the trust experiments.’
      happen, occur, come about, take place, turn out, chance, arise, befall, result
      View synonyms
  • fall through

    • Come to nothing; fail.

      ‘the project fell through due to lack of money’
      • ‘The company came close to being bought up by a larger rival last year, but the deal fell through at the eleventh hour.’
      • ‘When this deal falls through due to a loophole in the contract, Shylock is forced to convert to Christianity as his punishment.’
      • ‘This venture fell through due to difficulties in raising the necessary project financing.’
      • ‘It fears that if immediate steps are not taken, the project may fall through.’
      • ‘The deal, however, fell through last month after both parties failed to agree on the terms.’
      • ‘The couple entered the competition for fun after their attempts to buy a house together fell through earlier in the year.’
      • ‘Originally it was to be sold to a private buyer who wanted to turn it into a houseboat, but the deal fell through.’
      • ‘Once the injunction fell through, it was like a weight off my shoulders.’
      • ‘Earlier this year he was linked with a possible loan-move to Scarborough but that fell through when Thompson left.’
      • ‘The house in Plumstead Common fell through - someone else liked it first.’
      • ‘There were also two attempts to return the girls to their mother but these fell through when she failed to look after them.’
      • ‘Since this project ultimately fell through, we have taken it upon ourselves to continue to uphold her memory.’
      • ‘The land had been bought by the council for a retail development, and despite the first project there falling through, the council still wants it to be used for shops.’
      • ‘Swindon Town previously had plans to build a new stadium on the Front Garden, but this scheme fell through.’
      • ‘It leads to pages that are part of an older project that fell through.’
      • ‘There was a long period of time when he had a lot of projects fall through and had a lot of difficulties getting a project off the ground.’
      • ‘He was supposed to do it twice, but the other conference fell through, or some such thing.’
      • ‘The deal fell through, the club could not pay back the money, and so the club was pursued under a clause in the loan agreement.’
      • ‘A few years ago, the property was almost sold but the sale fell through at the eleventh hour.’
      • ‘We want to maximise public support for the project and try and avoid a public enquiry, so we don't have a repeat of the disappointment of that project falling through.’
      fail to meet, fail to reach, fail to live up to
      View synonyms
  • fall to

    • 1(of a task) become the duty or responsibility of.

      ‘it fell to me to write to Shephard’
      • ‘Ben had hoped Doc Martin would be available to tend his son, but now found that responsibility falling to him.’
      • ‘That duty falls to us, the citizens, by the oath we have sworn, to uphold the principles of democracy and good government.’
      • ‘They say the whole idea is to recreate another Eden and the task falls to Jurgens Wilson.’
      • ‘Since Croatia could never leave the Everton forward downcast, the task fell to Eriksson.’
      • ‘Not for the first time, the task of preserving our ancient freedoms falls to the House of Lords.’
      • ‘Perhaps the hardest task of all falls to Korea, who will open proceedings on Wednesday with a game against the defending world champions.’
      • ‘The huge task of putting this production together falls to director Simon Barry, 49, from London.’
      • ‘I had rather anticipated that Mr Pannick would be doing this, however he is unfortunately detained in another court so the responsibility falls to me.’
      • ‘In any event, the task of searching the police national computer fell to Cambridgeshire constabulary.’
      • ‘Last night, this thankless task fell to Richard Wilson, who coped magnificently as one would expect.’
      • ‘It may however fall to Clarke to begin uniting the Tory left under Portillo.’
      • ‘Jocelyn, on the other hand, was counting the extra tasks that would fall to her during his leave.’
      • ‘So since they can't do it, the duty falls to Bledsoe to take better care of the ball.’
      • ‘On Election Day, the primary responsibility for voter education falls to Election Day workers.’
      • ‘If our governments fail to act to end genocide, the responsibility falls to us.’
      • ‘Given that the Conservatives and the media cannot finish him off, this task may well fall to the Labour Party itself.’
      • ‘Doctors in the borough are being given the chance to opt out of working evenings and weekends with the responsibility for filling any gaps falling to Hounslow Primary Care Trust.’
      • ‘The task of selling Britain's Dome will now fall to a 34-year-old Frenchman.’
      • ‘Doclar would be most displeased with the news, but the duty fell to Kul to inform him.’
      • ‘The task of determining asylum seekers' status falls to the UNHCR.’
      fail, be unsuccessful, come to nothing, come to naught, fail to happen, miscarry, abort, go awry, be frustrated, collapse, founder, come to grief
      come to a halt, grind to a halt, end, terminate
      fizzle out, flop, fold, come a cropper, blow up in someone's face, go down like a lead balloon
      be the responsibility of, be the duty of, be borne by, be one's job, be one's task
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1(of property) revert to the ownership of.
        ‘land unclaimed after due notice given falls to the lord of the manor’
        • ‘The family-owned meatpacking business closed more than three decades ago, and the property fell to the county in the late 1990s because of unpaid taxes.’
        • ‘He plans on having the cousins fall in love and marry, so that her property will fall to him when Linton dies.’
        • ‘When this manager died, the property fell to all the children.’
        • ‘When he dies, the property falls to Hindley, who treats the former favorite as a servant.’


Old English fallan, feallan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vallen and German fallen; the noun is partly from the verb, partly from Old Norse fall downfall, sin.