Definition of befall in US English:



[with object]literary
  • (of something bad) happen to someone.

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