Definition of fall in English:

fall

verb

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

    ‘bombs could be seen falling from the planes’
    ‘the power lines had been brought down by falling trees’
    • ‘His hand glowed and the gigantic sword fell to the ground, leaving a small indention where it had fallen.’
    • ‘She shouted in rage as the stunned Arzenes fell to the floor, the computer in his arms falling with a crash.’
    • ‘The mirror's shards fell to the floor like rain, each part catching her reflection as it fell and rested on the floor.’
    • ‘Tom steps out of the doorway and falls 7 feet, collapsing onto rails.’
    • ‘She threw the ax as far as she could and it fell onto the grassy ground.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He brought his hands down, and she let the bow fall abruptly, surprised at his sudden movement.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The rain fell harder as we arrived at a larger town, crested with ten thousand 1V aerials.’
    • ‘The tear drop that fell to the sandy floor changed as it fell, to a jewel.’
    • ‘Nick had fallen down into the same pit that Scott and Sean fell into.’
    • ‘Just as I arrived rain began to fall, and inside the cafe Kinda Blue was playing.’
    • ‘But as with any thrown object as it falls vertically, it also travels horizontally.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The tears fell and she threw her fistfuls of sand at the horizon.’
    drop, drop down, plummet, descend, come down, go down, plunge, sink, dive, nosedive, tumble, pitch
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1fall off Become detached accidentally 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. 1.2 Hang down.
      ‘hair that was allowed to fall to the shoulders’
      • ‘His long golden hair falls down over his shoulders, and you notice two pointed ears poking out from the golden locks.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3 (of land) slope downward; drop away.
      ‘the land fell away in a steep bank’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      slope down, slope, slant down, go down, incline downwards, tilt downwards, drop away, drop, descend, dip, sink, plunge
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4fall into (of a river) flow or discharge itself into.
      • ‘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 (of someone's eyes or glance) be directed downward.
      • ‘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 (of someone's face) show dismay or disappointment by appearing to sag or droop.
      ‘her face fell as she thought about her life with George’
      • ‘I watched as his face fell, blue eyes glimmering with disappointment.’
      • ‘Kyle's face fell, slightly, as if he were disappointed at the matter altogether.’
      • ‘Then her face fell, as she realised she could never sneak past her parents with her hair in spikes.’
      • ‘I was telling my husband about Join Me and Raymond Price, and his face just fell, and he took out a bit of paper.’
      • ‘Her face falls when he thanks her for the valuable leads that she's given him.’
      • ‘Julie's face fell and tears trailed down her cheeks like two little streams.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Cody's face fell, but it quickly disappeared to be replaced by a smile.’
      • ‘As soon as Mike saw the little gold object in my hand his face fell.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘I was sure my face fell, reflecting my disappointment because Sister Martina patted me gently on the shoulder.’
      • ‘But Rupes was quite sweet when he saw how my face fell.’
      • ‘Leah's face fell, but she couldn't let herself be too disappointed, at least she was getting out.’
      • ‘He stated and the president paused in his stretch, rising to stand immediately as a somber gaze appeared in his eyes, his face falling.’
      • ‘When the judges announced that their decision was unanimous, her face fell, as she was clearly expecting the worst.’
      • ‘Face falling drastically, Candace looked down to conceal her disappointment.’
      • ‘Una's face fell slightly in disappointment and she looked at me.’
      • ‘Rena's face fell as she made a vortex of some kind and disappeared in a flash.’
  • 2(of a person) lose one's balance and collapse.

    ‘she fell down at school today’
    ‘I felt so dizzy that I fell over’
    ‘he stumbled, tripped, and fell’
    • ‘It was hard to climb down and halfway he lost his footing and fell the rest of the way.’
    • ‘Thrown off balance, the boy fell with a splash, just as the bullet whizzed past his head.’
    • ‘A post-mortem report showed heart disease was likely to have caused Mr Turner to collapse and fall downstairs.’
    • ‘About halfway up I lost my footing and fell a few feet down, scraping my hands on the rough sand, and lose rocks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The first time he trips and falls, his mother responds with sympathetic cooing noises.’
    • ‘I did not fall or lose my balance or anything else embarrassing, but I was annoyed.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His brother had fallen backwards onto the grass in the lawn losing much blood it seemed.’
    • ‘I saw my mother fall backwards and hit her head on the table.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Every step she felt terrified she'd fall or trip on something on the floor.’
    • ‘Trying to stand up only to completely lose his footing and fall right back down, Peter chuckled at his own ineptitude.’
    • ‘We'd clasped hands and spun around, but I'd fallen off balance and crashed into the table.’
    • ‘Now, it's my understanding that when you ‘pass out’ you fall backwards.’
    • ‘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.’
    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. 2.1 Throw oneself down, typically in order to worship or implore someone.
      ‘they fell on their knees, rendering thanks to God’
      • ‘If Rose hadn't been lying down on the floor, she most defiantly would have fallen on the ground a few feet away.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The wife fell at his feet and begged for forgiveness.’
      • ‘She knew that if she wasn't already sitting on her short stool, she'd probably have fallen to the ground from weak knees.’
      • ‘Cheska's fathers' eyes widened as he dropped to his knees, falling onto the ground face first.’
      • ‘He fell to his knees and the arms around him loosened the grip and he fell completely.’
    2. 2.2 (of a tree, building, or other structure) collapse to the ground.
      ‘the house looked as if it were going to fall down at any moment’
      • ‘No sooner the rains began, traffic crawled, trees fell, power tripped and Bangaloreans waded home with a sense of déjà vu.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And on the way back, a huge branch from one of the trees fell right on top of our car.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Dixie watched in shock as a tall pine tree fell slowly toward her plastic kennel, which was shaped like an igloo.’
      • ‘The tree had fallen on Sean while he was putting up the plastic tree.’
      • ‘Many trees had fallen over and were lying twisted on the ground.’
      • ‘A huge tree had fallen across the road in the vicinity of Nardia's house, and the road was impassable.’
      • ‘A pine tree had fallen sideways into Lenin's Mausoleum, the building of which was streaked with more of that rusty red substance.’
      • ‘A tree fell, trapping two children, one of them being the fatality.’
      • ‘And the storm came, and the tree fell, and the men came and took it away.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In all the years we have lived here, no trees have fallen except in the exceptional circumstance of the hurricane in the 1980s.’
      • ‘Students at Mt Nelson Primary School were given the day off after a tree fell across powerlines and cut electricity to the school.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Heavy trees fell, damaging homes and in three cases crushing Tampa police cars.’
      collapse, cave in, come down about one's ears, crash in, fall down
      View synonyms
  • 3Decrease in number, amount, intensity, or quality.

    ‘we're worried that standards are falling’
    ‘in 1987 imports into Britain 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Irish pension fund values fell by at least 5% in the last year, two separate surveys found yesterday.’
    • ‘Prices fell by four pence in some areas after a drop in the wholesale price of oil.’
    • ‘As revealed in the Daily Echo, the amount collected in the Poppy Appeal last year in Hampshire fell by £17,000.’
    • ‘After the huge level of activity in 2000, the amount of home and overseas purchases by Irish firms fell by half last year.’
    • ‘Nationwide's latest survey shows the average house price fell by 0.2% last month and by the same amount in August.’
    • ‘Within the whole sample, depression scores fell by a similar amount in both groups at two and four months.’
    • ‘The number of maths teachers with more than an A-level in the subject fell by an estimated 3,400 between 1996 and 2002.’
    • ‘Sales of music CDs fell by nearly 7 percent in Ireland last year.’
    • ‘When it reopened the Dow Jones index fell by six per cent.’
    • ‘The monthly data indicate that real GDP fell by at least that amount in the third quarter.’
    • ‘The average fuel consumption for all gasoline and diesel-fueled cars combined fell by 12 percent.’
    • ‘After-tax profits fell by 6.2 percent, following a 4.3 percent drop in the fourth quarter.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Robbery was down by a quarter, domestic burglaries dropped by more than a third and vehicle crime fell by more than 40 per cent.’
    • ‘There were prizes in each department of televisions and bicycles and absenteeism fell by 75%.’
    • ‘If the Footsie fell by the same amount it would have gone below 3,000.’
    • ‘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.’
    decrease, decline, diminish, fall off, drop off, go down, grow less, lessen, dwindle
    decrease, decline, diminish, drop off, go down, go downhill, grow less, lessen, dwindle, plummet, plunge, slump, sink
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1 (of a measuring instrument) show a lower reading.
      ‘the barometer had fallen a further ten points’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Easton awoke early this morning to find the thermometer had fallen 30 during the night, and was but 2 above a zero.’
  • 4Be captured or defeated.

    ‘their mountain strongholds fell to enemy attack’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘When the town fell to the epidemic of vampirism that swept the world, it must have fallen quickly.’
    • ‘Despite the efforts of Washington's regulars and the massed militia, New York and its strategic harbor fell to the enemy in September 1776. ...’
    • ‘Once the bridge fell, the battle was a foregone conclusion.’
    surrender, yield, submit, give in, give up, give way, capitulate, succumb
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    1. 4.1 Die in battle.
      ‘an English leader who had fallen at the hands of the Danes’
      • ‘Andromache is the widow of the renowned Trojan hero Hector, fallen in battle.’
      • ‘To-day is Armistice Day, the day when we remember those who have fallen in battle defending our great Republic.’
      • ‘It began to fill with peasants and nobles, mourning for those who had fallen in battle all that way from home.’
      • ‘The figures are the ghostly shapes of bowmen who fell during the battles of the Hundred Years' War.’
      • ‘All we could do was watch on and take small satisfaction as one of them fell during the battle.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That uniform is stained with the noble blood of those who've fallen in battle for their country.’
      • ‘He fell fighting the historic battle of Naushera, but not before enemy was routed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The General was said to be battered and bruised, but was not one of the unfortunate 420000 who fell during the battle.’
      • ‘That fateful day, an alliance was formed between the people of the Northern Continent, and sealed with the blood of those fallen in battle.’
      • ‘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.’
      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
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    2. 4.2 (of a government or leader) lose office.
      • ‘Napoleon III fell from power and in 1870, Hugo witnessed the siege of Paris.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Ties had been strained after the Khmer Rouge fell from power in 1979, but warmed again in the mid-1990s.’
      surrender, yield, submit, give in, give up, give way, capitulate, succumb
      View synonyms
    3. 4.3archaic Commit sin; yield to temptation.
      ‘it is their husbands' fault if wives do fall’
  • 5Pass into a specified state.

    ‘many of the buildings fell into disrepair’
    ‘she fell pregnant’
    • ‘He was just about to fall asleep when something passed over the moon.’
    • ‘Galen fell silent staring out the kitchen window lost in his own world.’
    • ‘The popular column had been written for years by Jim Hamilton, who fell ill and passed away earlier this year.’
    • ‘Worse than all of that, though, was that she didn't even remember passing out, nor falling asleep.’
    • ‘Annika let silent tears fall and stain the blanket, as she fell into a nightmare filled sleep.’
    • ‘With food and water in her stomach, Calida let the urge to fall asleep take over and she fell into a dreamless, peaceful sleep.’
    • ‘If I didn't get sleep soon, I could probably either pass out or fall asleep at a really bad time.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The guard threw him down to the ground and Darrius fell unconscious.’
    • ‘I immediately fell into Damin, though, because my legs had fallen asleep.’
    • ‘An existing fish pass has fallen into disrepair and is not maintained, resulting in fish finding it hard to get upriver to spawn.’
    • ‘The messenger fell silent, passing his black-sealed message from hand to hand.’
    • ‘Soldiers fall ill, lose their appetites, can't sleep, and have problems with memory.’
    • ‘At long last the day ended, and I fell into bed hoping to fall asleep quickly and refrain from thinking about the ball again.’
    become, come to be, get to be, grow, get, turn
    doze off, drop off, go to sleep
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    1. 5.1 Occur or take place.
      ‘when night fell we managed to crawl back to our lines’
      ‘Mother's birthday fell on Flag Day’
      • ‘This would mean if Easter falls particularly early or late, which happens about two years in every 10, it would fall within term time.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We're just having a little birthday party here for a little girl whose birthday fell today.’
      • ‘As night began to fall, he arrived at a village and all the hotels were full for the night.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But she thinks she should have been able to vote even if her birthday had fallen after polling day.’
      • ‘Night had fallen again upon the world, letting the world below fall into a gentle slumber.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Every other year my birthday has fallen on holidays.’
      occur, take place, happen, come about, come to pass
      come, arrive, appear, occur, arise, materialize
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    2. 5.2fall to doing something Begin to do something.
      ‘he fell to musing about how it had happened’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And the sons of Israel fell to doing what was bad in the eyes of Jehovah.’
    3. 5.3 Be drawn accidentally into.
      ‘you must not fall into this common error’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After graduation I fell accidentally into a job which enabled me to pursue a professional qualification.’
    4. 5.4 Be classified or ordered in the way specified.
      ‘canals fall within the Minister's brief’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It can be said perhaps that in the private sector, which falls under the Labour Act, things conclude far quicker.’
      • ‘The raise falls under the category of social allowance, which was first applied in 1987 to deal with the deterioration in public sector wages.’
      • ‘Graham said his lawyers will oppose the extradition, which falls under the Patriot Act in the United States.’
      • ‘If nothing else, the album instils a feeling that the band enjoys playing what they play, regardless of what genre it falls under.’
      • ‘Hypnosis falls under a broad category of treatments called behavioral medicine, which most people practice regularly without realizing it.’
      • ‘The commentators aren't quite sure what to say, as they don't know which rule this falls under.’
      • ‘All music falls under the Gospel heading, but genres run from pop rock to Celtic, to adult contemporary, to country.’
      • ‘A GMP spokesman said the crime falls under the common assault category, a conviction for which could lead up to five years in jail.’
      • ‘Fingerprint recognition, which falls under a technology called biometrics, has been used for years in the corporate environment.’
      • ‘Prosecuting illegal aliens for entering the country falls under the jurisdiction, of course, of the U.S. federal government.’
      • ‘Visa applicants are rarely told whether or not their work falls under a Visas Mantis category.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The project falls under the UW Sustainability Project.’
      • ‘The use of medication, most often beta blockers, falls under this source of self-efficacy.’
      • ‘Wald has also spoken of the need for bases to help protect oil reserves in Africa (which falls under the purview of the EUCOM).’
      • ‘Criminal damage falls under Section 60 of the Crimes Ordinance and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment.’
      • ‘She said that one would naturally arrive at something falling within the scope of claim 1.’

noun

  • 1An act of falling or collapsing; a sudden uncontrollable descent.

    ‘his mother had a fall, hurting her leg as she alighted from a train’
    • ‘Construction sites in York and North Yorkshire are to be assessed by health and safety inspectors to check the risk of falls from height.’
    • ‘Falling from heights and accidents involving vehicles and electricity cause most fatalities in the workplace while slips, trips and falls cause most accidents.’
    • ‘Stunned by the sudden fall, and exhausted by the run, they could only lie on the smooth floor and struggle for breath.’
    • ‘TWO jockeys were hurt in falls and a spectator collapsed in a toilet during a North Yorkshire horse race.’
    • ‘She told us of Jim's sudden accidental death by a fall from a ladder.’
    • ‘Sudden falls, along with injuries caused by animals and fires are also counted among the main causes of children's deaths.’
    • ‘More than 10% of head injuries requiring hospitalisation amongst children come from simple trips and falls when just running around.’
    • ‘The accident comes at a time when local authorities are trying to tackle the claims culture fed by falls and stumbles.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Clearly, the message of how to reduce falls from height is not yet understood by everybody working in this industry.’
    • ‘Employers and staff who want advice on preventing slips, trips and falls at work can contact the division on Hull 300300.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And it dries much quicker, reducing the risk of slips and falls.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Posterior rib fractures are specific evidence of non accidental injury because incidental falls and minor trauma cannot cause them.’
    • ‘Runs up the ramp may be frantic attempts to escape, but end in falls, collapses and rolling back down.’
    • ‘The majority of genuine damages claims were for slips, trips and falls.’
    • ‘Mrs Tempest was conscious after the initial fall but later collapsed and was airlifted to Nairobi General Hospital.’
    tumble, trip, spill, topple, stumble, slip
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A controlled act of falling, especially as a stunt or in martial arts.
      • ‘In the beginner's class, students take almost no falls except for simple backward ukemi.’
      • ‘On the other hand, the male contestants made a successful use of risky throwing techniques involving falls of the attacking contestants.’
      • ‘By taking throws time after time, one must learn how to take falls and overcome the fear of being thrown.’
      • ‘In aikido, for example, the roll is usually an elliptical fall rather than circular.’
      • ‘If the balance was not good you would fall and since the exercises were always vigorous, a fall could seriously hurt you.’
      • ‘Capoeira blends dance and combat movement and falls under the rubric of martial arts.’
      • ‘So children and youth must learn the techniques of soft falls or turnovers what is developed during continuous training.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They tend to be fight sequences, stair falls, motorbike stunts, very high falls and those involving pyrotechnics.’
    2. 1.2Wrestling A move which pins the opponent's shoulders on the ground for a count of three.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He then did a springboard senton but Hart went to count the fall but Kash pulled him out of the ring.’
      • ‘Monty Brown pinned Sabu in 8: 35 in an Extreme rules match, which meant falls count anywhere.’
    3. 1.3 A state of hanging or drooping downward.
      ‘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.’
    4. 1.4 A 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
    5. 1.5 A sudden onset or arrival as if by dropping.
      ‘the fall of darkness’
      • ‘With the fall of darkness, it shuts down its solar collectors.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 2A thing which falls or has fallen.

    ‘in October came the first thin fall of snow’
    ‘a rock fall’
    • ‘Thursday the weather was lousy with snow and sleet showers being forecast and some heavy falls of snow likely.’
    • ‘Councillors branded it ‘diabolical’ blaming KCC for being too slow in dealing with the heavy falls of snow of January 8.’
    • ‘Accidents took place during last weekend, due to the falls of snow and icy conditions.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Among the other news which did manage to squeeze its way into the paper was a report of heavy falls of snow in Wharfedale.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In the Elliot district, which it was declared a disaster area in July following heavy falls, light snow fell again yesterday.’
    • ‘I well remember my third birthday when we had a heavy fall of snow.’
    • ‘He also says the cold weather has meant good falls of snow at the ski fields.’
    • ‘At the first fall of snow, Jimmy and Gordon Todd are out clearing the roads.’
    • ‘The sudden fall of raindrops on the ceramic shingles roused Dr. Ichiro Sato from a dreamless sleep.’
    • ‘In the high mountains, where there are large falls of snow, there can also be avalanches.’
    • ‘A few years ago the dramatic scenes of a hotel at Scarborough succumbing to cliff falls made national news.’
    • ‘The line outside the theater had disappeared and was slowly being replaced by a steady fall of snow.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I remember waking to fresh falls of snow, the muffled stillness, and the sense of a world transformed.’
    • ‘Schools and mills were closed by a heavy fall of snow, the first of the winter.’
    • ‘Shanghai had several light falls of snow with the lowest temperature recorded in the downtown area reaching 4.6 degrees below zero.’
    1. 2.1usually falls A waterfall or cascade.
      • ‘The steps are crowned with statues and, again, fountains, which make them a combination of sprouting water and cascading falls.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At the foot of the falls, we clambered out and up, past cascades and pools to the top.’
      • ‘Flowing over mossy ledges or cascading into deep pools, these falls are well worth a weekend visit.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘Parallel rivers fall to the Baltic Sea (Gulf of Bothnia) in rapids and falls, many of which have hydroelectric power stations.’
      • ‘Even with the roaring falls, you could still hear the sweet melody of the birds and the rustling leaves by the wind.’
      • ‘Cascading in 30-foot tiers, the falls are accessible by trails starting from the park's visitor center.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The water from the falls had been passing several km through dense forests, where varieties of high value medicinal plants could be found.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The sound of the falls is more like music than like roaring water.’
      • ‘With water cascading down from a height of 4,500 ft. and splitting into five smaller falls, the Kempty waterfalls offers a panoramic view.’
      • ‘Farther west, the Columbia churned with falls and rapids.’
      • ‘The captain turned the ship to the starboard side, bracing the crew for the rapids and falls ahead.’
      • ‘First he climbs up the sheer rock of the falls and builds a small dam with stones and mud.’
      • ‘If you can, try to visit the falls in the spring as it is ungodly hot and humid in the summer.’
      • ‘Miraculously, he came out alive and unharmed downstream at the bottom of the falls.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, when water level is high, the falls combine to form one gigantic fall.’
      waterfall, cascade, cataract, chute, torrent
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2literary A downward turn in a melody.
      ‘that strain again, it had a dying fall’
      • ‘When notation did appear in the 9th century, it indicated the rise and fall of the melodies without exact specification of pitches.’
      • ‘The men begin singing Shalom Aleichem, swaying with the rise and fall of the melody.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 2.3falls The parts or petals of a flower that bend downward, especially the outer perianth segments of an iris.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Blue-white standards with black falls and a yellow sunburst pattern circling the red beards will surely dazzle any iris lover.’
      • ‘The beards are the hairs that grow in the center of the falls.’
      • ‘Crested irises have a comb-like crest along the lower half of the falls, instead of a beard.’
  • 3A decrease in size, number, rate, or level; a decline.

    ‘a big fall in unemployment’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The central bank attributed the steady plunge of the gross national savings rate to a rapid fall of savings in the household sector.’
    • ‘It's reported that when the Pope visits a city in the United States, the crime rate takes a dramatic fall.’
    • ‘The CBI Distributive Trades Survey recently showed a fall at its fastest rate in 20 years.’
    • ‘The rate of the fall was slower than the 16.2 percent plunge in June, the Economic Development Board said.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Essentially, the long downturn resulted from the sharp fall of the profit rate and the long time it took to recover.’
    • ‘The dollar suffered its biggest fall against the Yen for more than a year.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Export orders, stable in the previous quarter, had declined with more firms reporting a fall than a growth in orders.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Recent stock market falls offered a sobering reminder of how mere economic concerns can quickly look like crises.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
    • ‘Argentina's swift defeat hastened the fall of the military dictatorship and the restoration of democracy.’
    • ‘Omar then left Afghanistan for Pakistan after the fall of the Taliban in 2001.’
    • ‘What we found in making these selections, is that it is all too easy to moan about the decline and fall of popular culture.’
    • ‘Medecins Sans Frontieres became the first major aid agency to quit Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban.’
    • ‘After the decline and fall of the Roman Empire it fell to the monasteries of Europe to preserve and pass on learning.’
    • ‘Certainly, North Korean trade and production has collapsed since the fall of the USSR.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Professor Child's book should be read by anyone who is interested in the decline and fall of communism in East Germany.’
    • ‘We have a younger generation coming up since the fall of the shah.’
    • ‘That development is the decline and fall of the Russian empire.’
    • ‘The battle between Enigorio and Enigonhahetgea reminds one of the fall of Satan in Christian lore.’
    • ‘He compared the fall of the Soviet Union to the rise of new media.’
    • ‘I've watched the spread of communism and the fall of communism, the spread of fascism and the fall of fascism.’
    • ‘What is presented here is a discussion of the most widely favoured explanations for Britain's imperial decline and fall.’
    • ‘Are we watching the beginning of the decline and fall of the American empire?’
    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. 4.1 A person's moral descent, typically through succumbing to temptation.
      • ‘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’
      • ‘He floats quietly but soon sinks into the water symbolizing his final moral fall.’
      • ‘No one is saying why, but his blocking skills likely have some thing to do with his sudden fall from grace.’
      • ‘His dramatic exit resolved the paradoxes of his life and arguably saved him a very public decline and fall.’
      • ‘As a theologian, I would say that homosexuality, like all sin, has its roots in the fall of man in the Garden of Eden.’
      • ‘The decline and fall of a mere meritocrat in a world of privilege is the theme of this novel.’
      • ‘In the supposed rise of the extreme right, mainstream politicians imagine their own decline and fall, and their isolation from the people.’
      • ‘But Melon subjects the ladies to a graphic account of his decline and fall.’
    2. 4.2 The 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.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.

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

Phrases

  • 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.’’
      • ‘If you like, this is the unregulated hinterland, reminiscent of timeshare properties, where investors could be riding for a fall!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Governments that think low interest rates are always electorally rewarding are riding for a fall.’
      • ‘Look out little Johnny, cause you're riding for a fall.’
      • ‘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.’
  • fall foul of

    • Come into conflict with and be undermined by.

      ‘any commitment of resources is likely to fall foul of government cash limitations’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Qobadi was the second leading Iranian film figure in less than a month to fall foul of tighter U.S. immigration policy.’
      • ‘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 building's one small lift is likely to fall foul of new disabled access laws.’
      • ‘He fell afoul of the administration over the banking regulations intended to combat money laundering in the anti-terrorism bill.’
      • ‘His humanist ideals fell foul of the Roman Catholic Church, but he wouldn't relent, and by 1525 the Reformation had arrived.’
      • ‘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 sport is already banned in Scotland and looks likely to fall foul of similar bans in England and Wales.’
      • ‘Wilberfoss' batsmen fell foul of Daley Wharton who captured 5 for 19 in a nine-over spell which had them all out for 102.’
      • ‘The 57-year-old fell foul of the law when he claimed income support, council tax and housing benefit after becoming the town crier’
      • ‘She fell foul of planning regulations imposed by her former employer, after hosting hospitality events.’
      • ‘As a leading user of live animals for experiments, this scientific research company fell foul of animal rights activists.’
      • ‘You will most likely fall foul of the Inland Revenue, for example, if you ‘give’ your house away but continue to live in it.’
      • ‘Insiders say that Home Office lawyers warned him his measures were likely to fall foul of the courts; but he pressed on.’
      • ‘I figured I was in a small minority of people who fell afoul of the polygraph.’
      • ‘He said more than 200 businesses a month fell foul of bogus registration agencies, which often used threatening language and headed newspaper.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • fall in (or into) line

    • Conform with others or with accepted behavior.

      • ‘The media, unsurprisingly, gave the whole show a free ride and the arts community fell into line.’
      • ‘The U.S. government fell in line with that approach.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘American pressure is being sharply felt in Mexico, which is not an Opec member but traditionally falls into line with the organisation's decisions.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘They all fell in line with the view that this incident was a horrendous event and that Bowen had to be severely punished.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The news media both turned a contemptuous eye on war protestors and fell in line with the government's official war policy.’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The establishment of Ash Schools in Lebanon falls in line with the attempts of the Sunni community to offer Islamic religion to students.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘People were frightened and then, McCarthy was blackballing all of these writers with the liberal views and soon, they all fell in line.’
      • ‘The results fell in line almost exactly with Paula's comments.’
      • ‘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.’
  • fall into place

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

      ‘once he knew what to look for, the theory fell quickly into place’
      • ‘Sometimes, when things are falling around me, I don't have the patience to sense they might be falling into place.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A missing piece of Japan's recent economic recovery is beginning to fall into place.’
      • ‘We have found that once a child has cracked mental arithmetic everything else begins to fall into place.’
      • ‘Things begin to fall into place, and your life becomes a glide instead of a struggle.’
      • ‘Greg remained stressed throughout most of it, but as things started to fall into place, he began to calm down.’
      • ‘The programme of events is falling into place.’
      • ‘My disease wasn't progressing much, and my work all fell into place, and I began to get somewhere.’
      • ‘I was also comforted to know that in Christ I had ‘new’ life, and things began to fall into place.’
      • ‘There is a real sense of satisfaction as the pieces of the mystery start to fall into place and make sense.’
      • ‘There is too much of the unexpected in a first hearing; after a second hearing things begin to fall into place.’
      • ‘Finally everything falls into place and emerges with a precision so remarkable that it cannot be chance.’
      • ‘Still, her true calling was realism, and about eight years ago, things really began falling into place for her.’
      • ‘All you need to do is stay focused and follow your sixth sense, and everything will fall into place.’
      • ‘Once all of the details start falling into place everything will make sense; I promise.’
      • ‘Bit by bit, in the perceptions of ordinary folk, the pieces of this jigsaw are beginning to fall into place.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In recent days, those missing pieces have finally begun to fall into place.’
      • ‘Plans are falling into place and it promises to be one of the biggest events ever.’
      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.

      • ‘The parish council at Barlby padlocked the £20,000 park after its appeals to the youngsters fell on stony ground.’
      • ‘The idea of Franco-British union fell on stony ground.’
      • ‘The prime minister's offer will fall on stony ground, however.’
      • ‘He also proposed the word ‘archaeography’, but that one fell on stony ground.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘A suggestion of trying Gandhi's method falls on stony ground.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Like all mail shots some probably fell on stony ground, whereas others may have attracted a little interest.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Demands to review the project fell on stony ground - if it was to be completed on schedule, no delay could be considered.’
  • fall over oneself to do something

    • informal Be excessively eager to do something.

      ‘critics and audiences fell over themselves to compliment him’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The global audience is limited, so advertisers won't be falling over themselves to redirect their budgets.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No one fell over themselves to contradict him either.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Having made such a splash at Sundance, it is little surprise to find the US critics falling over themselves to deliver a positive verdict.’
      • ‘His indictment of the tabloid press seemed vindicated when its TV critics began falling over themselves to say how brilliant the broadcast had been.’
      • ‘Nowadays, publishers are falling over themselves to bring conservative books to a mainstream audience.’
      • ‘After a wet summer garden centres will be falling over themselves to shift excess patio furniture.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Committee members almost fell over themselves to praise her ‘calm’ and ‘rational’ speech, but such sentiments count for little when set against hard economics.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘People fell over themselves to do good things for Klemperer.’
      • ‘Financial institutions are falling over themselves to offer wealth-management services.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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.’
      • ‘An Iraqi surface-to-surface missile that was being fired at our troops fell short of its target.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It fell short of the intended target and bounced harmlessly off the table in front of me.’
      1. 1.1Be deficient or inadequate; fail to reach a required goal.
        ‘the total vote fell short of the required two-thirds majority’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘For all the potential this project had, it falls short and disappoints.’
        • ‘His prescription also falls short by not addressing how our current electoral rules waste votes and suppress potential participation.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The failure of the Board to execute works is attributable to deficient planning with the result physical achievements fell short by 57 per cent.’
        • ‘While not a total disappointment, it fell short of expectation.’
        • ‘The vote on whether to vote fell short by 6 votes even though it won 54 to 46.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘A proposal to extend extra temporary benefits to jobless Americans fell short by one vote in the Senate Tuesday.’
        • ‘If he falls short of 50 percent of the vote, there will be a run-off three weeks later.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘It was clear that in the key marginals the Labour vote was falling short of what the national polls were saying.’
        • ‘However, the collective total may still fall short of the required 55% threshold.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Despite a large majority, the vote fell short of the required two-thirds majority.’
        • ‘No matter how we try, we all fall short - well short of perfection.’
        • ‘In the end, the majority of WIBC delegates voted yes, but Single Membership fell short of the two-thirds vote needed for adoption.’
        • ‘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.’
        fail to meet, fail to reach, fail to live up to
        View synonyms
  • fall to pieces

    • see "fall apart"
  • fall victim to

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

      ‘many streams have fallen victim to the recent drought’
      • ‘I am concerned that companies are falling victim to online commercial extortion and we are not being told.’
      • ‘A mother whose young daughter allegedly fell victim to the abuse condemned the BNP for turning her ordeal into a race issue.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If accuracy and nuance sometimes fall victim to all this rhetoric, well, there's a war on, folks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Adverse effects of high consumption levels, however, lead to Irish people falling victim to more accidents and violence, new research shows.’
      fall ill with, be stricken with, become infected with, catch, develop, contract, pick up
      View synonyms
  • take the fall

    • informal Receive blame or punishment, typically in the place of another person.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘European governments continue to allow employers the privilege of using cheap foreign labor while making asylum seekers take the fall for clandestine migration.’
      • ‘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.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • fall apart (or to pieces)

    • 1Break up, come apart, or disintegrate.

      ‘their marriage is likely to fall apart’
      • ‘The broccoli tended to fall apart and the snow peas overcooked too easily, so I left them out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I lost a burger down the gap in the grill - the burgers weren't the best quality and fell apart very easily.’
      • ‘Monkfish is the heavyweight contender of the fish world, so strong it can easily be reheated a couple of times without falling apart.’
      • ‘Last time around, many expressways just fell apart, disintegrated after a few months.’
      fall to pieces, come to pieces, fall to bits, come to bits, come apart, come apart at the seams
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1(of a person) lose one's capacity to cope.
        ‘Angie fell to pieces because she had lost everything’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even a Mercedes falls back to a respectful distance when I rudely pull out in front of it.’
      retreat, withdraw, back off, draw back, pull back, pull away, move away, retire, pull out
      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.’
      • ‘A lot of people still have someone, have family to fall back on for support.’
      • ‘That way, if one situation didn't have a positive result, I would have others to fall back on.’
      • ‘All the riches and good things of life are gone and she has no one to fall back on.’
      • ‘Paying cash to avoid Vat means you have no documentation to fall back on should things go wrong.’
      • ‘Without the safety net of an autocue to fall back on, he probably wouldn't be touring at all.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The trust does not have any savings to fall back on and rising costs meant spiralling debts.’
      • ‘Teens who have a conducive family atmosphere to fall back on hardly ever go astray.’
      • ‘If acting doesn't work out then Porter has plenty other skills to fall back on.’
      • ‘It is no longer in existence, so responsibility for the site falls back on to the landowner.’
      • ‘Dewar first did a history degree, then law, which would give him a career to fall back on.’
      • ‘If the South African golfer ever thinks about giving up the day job, he has a nice sideline to fall back on.’
      • ‘You hate to make decisions, and if forced to decide, you'll always fall back on how it was done in the past.’
      • ‘Even where the composer doesn't quite add anything, there's still the poetry to fall back on.’
      • ‘If disaster strikes again, however, he knows that he has more to fall back on.’
      • ‘Older people on fixed incomes don't have any extra sources of revenue to fall back on when inflated bills drop on the doorstep.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      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
      View synonyms
  • fall behind

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

      • ‘You either out-perform the global leaders, create a competitive niche, or fall behind.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The potential for losing revenue and falling behind the competition is high at this stage of the network life cycle.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One theme is Britain's growing awareness of falling behind its competitors, particularly in education, where Germany was the model.’
      • ‘When you fall behind the competition, there's always a temptation to label it unfair.’
      • ‘It claims that unless something is done now the country risks falling behind in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.’
      • ‘And if you don't stay ahead of your competition, you're invariably going to fall behind.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘However, you seem to be falling behind your competitors in China.’
      • ‘Bolton competed well for almost all the first half before falling behind to Diouf's header which the visitors insisted was offside.’
      • ‘That said, if they burn cash too slowly, they risk falling behind in the competition to innovate, expand and gain market share.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Growth is to be found in bottled water, sports drinks and juice, areas where the company is falling behind competitors.’
      • ‘If they failed to do so, they risked falling behind their competitors and losing their jobs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Without such careful preparation in the competitive business of megaproject architecture, a company can easily fall behind.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      1. 1.1Fail to meet a commitment to make a regular payment.
        ‘borrowers falling behind with their mortgage payments’
        • ‘U.S. multinationals get the contracts, and when the poor countries fall behind in payments, take over their economies.’
        • ‘If you find that you are falling behind with your bills and worried about how to pay your credit debts, follow these tips.’
        • ‘She fell behind on her house payments and had to foreclose.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Mr Palmer said the real complaint arose from the application of interest to arrears and charges when the couple fell behind with their payments.’
        • ‘As for private homeowners, he said slashing the interest rate will give relief to people who fall behind in their 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.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘The Foundation then fell behind on its debt payments and the bank filed foreclosure papers on the Foundation in December 2001.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘And if you fall behind on your payments, you could lose your home.’
        • ‘It shows the increase is almost entirely down to people falling behind on credit card and personal loan payments.’
        • ‘Council tenants should contact their estate manager immediately if they are falling behind with rent payments as a result of the problems’
        • ‘Tenants causing a minor nuisances or falling behind with their rent will be issued with a warning.’
        • ‘If you fall behind with your payments, the finance company may terminate the agreement in writing and issue you with a ‘Default Notice’.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘But unsecured loans are preferable as there is less risk of losing your home if you fall behind with payments.’
        • ‘The consequences of not paying it are far more serious than falling behind with a credit card bill.’
        get into debt, get into arrears, default, be in the red, be late, be overdue
        View synonyms
  • fall down

    • Be shown to be inadequate or false; fail.

      ‘the deal fell down partly because there were a lot of unanswered questions’
      • ‘Where the Times fell down was in the awkward split between its two sections.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Tuck and everyone at the SQA were confident that would be the case but then fell down on the task.’
      • ‘It fell down on information governance, MRSA rates and its stroke unit facilities.’
      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

    • 1Be captivated by; fall in love with.

      • ‘This is a time when love is like punishment in that you are falling for somebody unable to reciprocate openly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The traditional production shows how the captain's daughter becomes torn between love and duty when she falls for a common sailor.’
      • ‘Though several men in town are in love with her, she falls for Jake Spoon and accompanies the drive though camps outside it.’
      • ‘Oh, How confusing love is… Denni told me not to fall for someone above my station.’
      • ‘La Traviata is an intimate story of family tensions and blighted love, following a Parisian courtesan who falls for a younger man.’
      • ‘Well, you can't have stories when one girl who is deprived of love always fall for her cute best friend.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Of course, there has to be some kind of love interest, so O'Conner falls for Toretto's sister Mia.’
      • ‘It charts the love story of a rich wastrel who falls for a workaholic woman doctor.’
      • ‘When my character fell for one of the farmers and got involved in a love triangle, it was all very scandalous.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I'll bet your house is fine, and you probably loved it before you fell for her pool and tennis court.’
      • ‘Why of all people did she have to fall for the cousin of the one who loves her?’
      • ‘He stood there wondering what cruel fate destined that his best friend would fall for the woman he loved.’
      • ‘He joins a self-help group whose leader, played by Sheila Henderson, falls for him but her love remains unrequited.’
      • ‘Allie fought back, trying to keep herself from falling for this tall handsome brute.’
      • ‘She would definitely not fall for the handsome jock, especially if she barely knew him.’
      • ‘In Norma, forbidden love rears its tragic head as a Druid High Priestess falls for a Roman officer.’
      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 should have known better than to expect Duncan to fall for a cheap trick like that’
      • ‘Poor patients in Africa fall for these drugs because of their cheap price.’
      • ‘It amazes me that people actually fall for this. Why on Earth would a complete stranger trust you with their money like this?’
      • ‘She believes we are falling for a false kind of moral equivalence between democratic societies and tyrannies.’
      • ‘In fact, we were the last expected people of the whole lot to be falling for a fare like that.’
      • ‘Sure enough I fell for the blank expression and slightly manic eyes.’
      • ‘Come on, do you really expect us to fall for such a childish ploy?’
      • ‘They really believed that the people of Killala and North Mayo would fall for that sort of baloney.’
      • ‘We can understand that, but it should not expect the public of New Zealand to fall for that nonsense.’
      • ‘While it's not immediately known whether any of the recipients fell for the story, the spam mail has only led to smirks.’
      • ‘Luckily for its readers, this newspaper would never fall for such cheap tricks.’
      • ‘You're not expecting us to fall for that a second time are you?’
      • ‘I believed you - I fell for all the lies you slowly filtered into me.’
      • ‘Did he expect me to actually fall for his stupid little flirting ways?’
      • ‘Let us not fall for cheap tactics and propaganda that are designed to divide us.’
      • ‘This is so clearly a joke that I still cannot believe anybody at all fell for it.’
      • ‘A woman was duped out of £30,000 when she fell for an international e-mail scam.’
      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

    • 1Take one's place in a military formation.

      ‘the soldiers fell in by the side of the road’
      • ‘If you tell your assault team to fall in as you move in on a suppressed enemy, they'll do just that.’
      • ‘I set off along that familiar walk toward the workshops, the guards falling in behind me.’
      • ‘A pair of armed guards fell in at a discreet distance as I made my way back to my rooms.’
      • ‘The first thing soldiers in any army do after being rolled out of bed is to fall in for morning formation.’
      • ‘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
    • 2(of a structure) collapse inward.

      • ‘The blaze caused the roof to fall in now putting the first floor at risk of collapse.’
      • ‘I have a roof falling in, will my insurance cover it?’
      • ‘He was in the east wing of the building and the roof fell in on him. He is recovering rapidly and will be out again in a few days.’
  • fall in with

    • 1Meet by chance and become involved with.

      ‘he fell in with thieves’
      • ‘He fell in with the original Happy Valley crowd whose decadent lifestyles were memorably depicted in the book and the film White Mischief.’
      • ‘He fell in with a bad crowd, particularly at the end of the Soviet occupation.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He fell in with a group of German artists in Paris and eventually went to Berlin, where he met Kandinsky.’
      • ‘Travelers fall in with bands of thieves regularly, and a Good Samaritan is their only hope of rescue.’
      • ‘Amara watched the group interact with a slight smile on her face. ‘Interesting bunch of people Allison's fell in with,’ she thought.’
      • ‘I fell in with a group of politically correct activists who I soon discovered treated me differently than their Canadian or American peers.’
      • ‘After leaving school I fell in with some new groups of friends, those from Scouts, from a games club I started, and from college.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He fell in with the wrong crowd and turned to dishonesty.’
      • ‘Fortunately, while studying in Delhi University I fell in with a crowd of cultured Bengalis, who educated me step by joyous step.’
      • ‘An Essex butcher, Turpin fell in with the wrong sort and became involved with a vicious gang of robbers who preyed on isolated homes.’
      • ‘By contrast, the same ladies saw the team as the kind of bunch they wouldn't want their sons to fall in with.’
      • ‘The new movie, Love, Honour and Obey, which tells the story of a postman who falls in with criminals, is premiered in London.’
      • ‘'Teenagers can just as easily fall in with the wrong crowd and unintentionally become involved in other serious crimes,’ she said.’
      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
    • 2Act in accordance with (someone's ideas or suggestions); agree to.

      ‘falling in with other people's views’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That's unacceptable, and I won't fall in with that.’
      • ‘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.’
      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.’
      • ‘They fell upon the king's soldiers because of the licentious conduct they had been allowed under Herod's government.’
      • ‘Neither flinched when the first attackers fell upon them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Armed with blackjacks they fell upon four citizens.’
      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’
        • ‘Then, again, seized with a new idea, he fell upon his notebook and the pencil became alive.’
        • ‘The smokers fall upon their cigarettes with an enthusiasm only other smokers can appreciate.’
        • ‘One of them was seized and crushed like an insect, but others fell upon the beast with renewed fury until it lay dead.’
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘Then you can fall upon your food in wild desperation and enthusiasm.’
        • ‘Albert seized the opportunity instantly, falling on Theo like a bird of prey, bending him back, knife upraised for the final, triumphant killing blow.’
        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 toward.

      ‘her gaze fell on the mud-stained coverlet’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Their anxious gaze falls on her every time she cries.’
      • ‘Her gaze fell upon his satchel and she silently walked towards it.’
      • ‘But his joyous expression faded as his gaze fell upon another girl.’
    • 3(of a burden or duty) be borne or incurred by.

      ‘the cost of tuition should not fall on the student’
      • ‘The task of slaughtering the animals fell on the Army.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Responsibility for minimising casualties falls on him.’
      • ‘The burden of manning the attack fell on rookies.’
      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.

      • ‘She had the longest hair ever that was falling out in little patches.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I had so much stress, my hair started falling out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And my hair is falling out, I have sores in my mouth, my teeth ache - my whole body aches!’
      • ‘He also has to deal with the possibility that he might go bald, as clumps of his hair have started falling out.’
      • ‘A friend tells me that his hair is falling out, although he is still in his 20s.’
      • ‘His hair fell out for the second time and he experienced nausea and weakness.’
      • ‘One in 10 men reading this is checking his pillow and plughole daily to see if his hair is falling out.’
      • ‘It was real, but I got sick and all the hair fell out.’
      • ‘In the wake of a car accident, all Lucas's hair fell out when he was just six.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My hair keeps falling out in clumps again, coming out even as I run fingers through it.’
      • ‘I developed a rash, my hair started falling out and I wanted to sleep all the time.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
    • 2Have an argument.

      ‘he had fallen out with his family’
      • ‘We fell out with lots of different people but eventually we got it together and got Conor in the band.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Already, last summer, the companies fell out over who would control the business and collect the money in the UK, where both have networks.’
      • ‘She claims that they were friends, but they fell out over Sam's drinking.’
      • ‘The protagonists are ex-college buddies who fell out over a girl called Betty Anne.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They reportedly fell out because they disagreed on whether to support a peace deal with the interim government.’
      • ‘It was said that the two men fell out over ‘personal matters’.’
      • ‘The two groups fell out over differences in ‘approach,’ which included more than the business plan.’
      • ‘Sadly the sheer size of the commission proved too much for Papworth; client and architect fell out over money.’
      • ‘We fell out over something quite trivial really.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And there were more family squabbles as he fell out publicly with his brothers, sisters and father.’
      • ‘He grew up running wild with his cousins on the family commune in Wales - until they all fell out over money’
      • ‘The pair later fell out over money and Hubbard moved on.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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’.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Bruiser screamed as his fighter took a salvo of fire from his pursuers and he fell out of formation with Mask and Wheezy.’
      • ‘I don't remember whether the bombs were dropped before we fell out of formation or sometime after we were down at low altitude.’
      • ‘Any bomber that was damaged and fell out of formation was immediately set upon by a swarm of fighters.’
      • ‘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.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The subject matter falls out as irrelevant, the different views on the same thing are what it's about.’
      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’
      • ‘It leads to pages that are part of an older project that fell through.’
      • ‘The company came close to being bought up by a larger rival last year, but the deal fell through at the eleventh hour.’
      • ‘There were also two attempts to return the girls to their mother but these fell through when she failed to look after them.’
      • ‘The house in Plumstead Common fell through - someone else liked it first.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The couple entered the competition for fun after their attempts to buy a house together fell through earlier in the year.’
      • ‘A few years ago, the property was almost sold but the sale fell through at the eleventh hour.’
      • ‘It fears that if immediate steps are not taken, the project may fall through.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘This venture fell through due to difficulties in raising the necessary project financing.’
      • ‘The deal, however, fell through last month after both parties failed to agree on the terms.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Swindon Town previously had plans to build a new stadium on the Front Garden, but this scheme fell through.’
      • ‘When this deal falls through due to a loophole in the contract, Shylock is forced to convert to Christianity as his punishment.’
      • ‘Since this project ultimately fell through, we have taken it upon ourselves to continue to uphold her memory.’
      • ‘Earlier this year he was linked with a possible loan-move to Scarborough but that fell through when Thompson left.’
      • ‘He was supposed to do it twice, but the other conference fell through, or some such thing.’
      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’
      • ‘So since they can't do it, the duty falls to Bledsoe to take better care of the ball.’
      • ‘The huge task of putting this production together falls to director Simon Barry, 49, from London.’
      • ‘Perhaps the hardest task of all falls to Korea, who will open proceedings on Wednesday with a game against the defending world champions.’
      • ‘They say the whole idea is to recreate another Eden and the task falls to Jurgens Wilson.’
      • ‘The task of determining asylum seekers' status falls to the UNHCR.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Given that the Conservatives and the media cannot finish him off, this task may well fall to the Labour Party itself.’
      • ‘On Election Day, the primary responsibility for voter education falls to Election Day workers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Not for the first time, the task of preserving our ancient freedoms falls to the House of Lords.’
      • ‘Ben had hoped Doc Martin would be available to tend his son, but now found that responsibility falling to him.’
      • ‘If our governments fail to act to end genocide, the responsibility falls to us.’
      • ‘That duty falls to us, the citizens, by the oath we have sworn, to uphold the principles of democracy and good government.’
      • ‘In any event, the task of searching the police national computer fell to Cambridgeshire constabulary.’
      • ‘Doclar would be most displeased with the news, but the duty fell to Kul to inform him.’
      • ‘Since Croatia could never leave the Everton forward downcast, the task fell to Eriksson.’
      • ‘Jocelyn, on the other hand, was counting the extra tasks that would fall to her during his leave.’
      • ‘The task of selling Britain's Dome will now fall to a 34-year-old Frenchman.’
      be the responsibility of, be the duty of, be borne by, be one's job, be one's task
      fail, be unsuccessful, come to nothing, come to naught, fail to happen, miscarry, abort, go awry, be frustrated, collapse, founder, come to grief
      View synonyms
      1. 1.1(of property) revert to the ownership of.
        • ‘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.’
        • ‘When he dies, the property falls to Hindley, who treats the former favorite as a servant.’
        • ‘When this manager died, the property fell to all the children.’
        • ‘He plans on having the cousins fall in love and marry, so that her property will fall to him when Linton dies.’

Origin

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’.

Pronunciation

fall

/fôl//fɔl/