Meaning of FALL in English

I. ˈfȯl verb

( fell ˈfel ; fall·en ˈfȯlən also in poetry & sometimes +V in prose -ln ; also dialect fell ; falling ; falls )

Etymology: Middle English fallen, from Old English feallan; akin to Old Frisian & Old Norse falla to fall, Old Saxon & Old High German fallan, and perhaps to Lithuanian pulti to fall, Old Prussian au- pallai he finds, Armenian p'ul fall, plunge

intransitive verb



(1) : to descend by the force of gravity when freed from suspension or support : drop

the rain falls

ripe fruit falling off a tree

(2) : to pass downward in a certain direction : drop in a guided descent

the water falls over the ledge

the mercury falls in the thermometer

the lash fell on his shoulders

(3) : to hang freely : extend downward

her hair falls loosely

his cloak falls from his shoulders

(4) : to let oneself down usually swiftly and suddenly to a sitting, reclining, or kneeling position

she fell on the window seat by the coat closet and began to sob — Louis Auchincloss

I was her slave; I fell at her feet — A.W.Long

sometimes : to leap from a great height

the column was popular with suicides, some of whom fell to their death before the top was enclosed in a cage — Sydney (Australia) Bulletin


(1) : to become born — now usually used of lambs

(2) : to drop to a lower degree

the temperature fell

or level

blood pressure fell to 140 systolic

(3) : to decrease in volume of sound : drop in pitch

his voice fell

the music rose and fell

(4) : issue — used of speech

the excellent advice that fell from his lips

(5) : to come or come to pass as if by falling

an ominous stillness fell upon the room

night fell upon the village

a heavy vengeance fell upon the rebels

(6) : to become lowered — used of a glance or the eyes


a. : to drop suddenly and involuntarily

fall down on the ice

slipped and fell heavily to the ground


(1) : to enter as if blindly or unawares into a dangerous or undesirable state or situation : stumble , stray — used with in or into

fell into the enemy ambush

falling into the moral snares of a great city

fell into grave doctrinal errors

the novel falls into a cloying sentimentality

(2) of a structure : to collapse especially in fragments

many houses fell as a result of the earthquake

the building fell of its own weight

(3) : to drop to the ground wounded or dead

men were falling all about him under the enemy fire

especially : to die in battle

the fallen included numerous officers

fell in the first skirmish of the war

(4) : to suffer destruction, capture, or total military defeat : collapse

scholars still argue about why the Roman Empire fell

the city fell after a siege of many months

(5) : to lose office especially as a result of an adverse parliamentary vote — used of a government or ministry

the coalition government fell after only 6 months in office

(6) : to suffer ruin, defeat, or failure : fail utterly

we will stand or fall together

— used chiefly of projects or undertakings and in the phrase fall through

your paper's falling through for no money and you want me to give you some? — Josephine Johnson

I do not remember why the deal fell through — A.L.Guérard

(7) : lapse , expire : perish , disappear

the conversation fell for a few minutes — Arnold Bennett

his anger suddenly fell

— often used with away

if you have some other witness … this difficulty will fall away — Farmer's Weekly (South Africa)

(8) card games : to become played — used of a card whose holder must legally though unwillingly play it

(9) cricket , of a wicket : to become lost by the dismissal of a batsman

the first wicket fell with 50 runs on the board

c. : to yield to temptation : commit an immoral act

if falling were all that ever happened to a good man, all his days would he a simple matter of striving and repentance — Owen Wister

especially : to lose one's chastity



(1) of a river : to flow down : debouch , empty — used with into

the rivers that fall into the sea

(2) : to move or extend in a generally downward direction

the land falls to a river

— often used with away

the ridge falls away quickly where it approaches the sea — Norman Cousins

the ground falling away from the highest point — Osbert Lancaster


(1) : to cease to be violent : subside , abate

the flames rose and fell

the wind fell

: ebb

the falling tide

(2) : to decline in quality, character, activity, or quantity

the party's representation in the legislature fell from seven seats to six

after his book on the circulation of the blood came out … he fell mightily in his practice — John Aubrey

greater increases would merely influence traffic to fall more sharply — Collier's Year Book

how low can a man fall

— often used with off or away

the tourist trade fell off markedly in January — R.F.Warner

the play falls off toward the end

his work fell off badly

subscriptions fell away — C.L.R.James

the poem does not fall away from its opening line — Oscar Cargill

(3) : to lose physical tone, condition, or weight : become wasted — usually used with off or away

the cattle have fallen off badly in the drouth

you'd scarcely believe anybody could fall off so rapidly — Ellen Glasgow

she's fallen away terribly

(4) : to assume a look of shame, disappointment, or dejection — used of the face

his face fell

(5) : to decline in financial value or price : suffer a decline in prices

stocks fell several points

the market is falling

c. : to make a hostile move or attack physically or verbally — now used with on or upon

fell upon the enemy and routed him

the opposition speakers fell clamorously on the tottering government



(1) : to come or occur at a certain time : arrive

prevent the harvest seasons from coming in time to fall outside of their proper agricultural seasons — T.H.Gaster

the beginnings of his career fell at the period … when the vogue of field games … was beginning — E.P.Tanner

(2) : to come by chance : happen to come

it fell into my mind to write you a letter

hurried me frequently into intrigues with low women that fell in my way — Benjamin Franklin


(1) : to come or pass by lot, assignment, inheritance, or as a burden or duty : devolve

the estate fell to his brother

the lot fell on him

it fell to him to break the news

(2) dialect Britain : to have need or occasion : become obliged or due — used with to

c. archaic : to come or be due in the course of events — followed by to be and usually a participle


(1) : to lie in a certain position

the point falls to the right of a given line

: have the proper place or station

the accent falls on the second syllable

(2) : to come within the limits, scope, or jurisdiction of something : have a definite position in a classificatory system or arrangement — often used with into, within, or under

this word falls into the class of verbs

obviously fell within the Soviet sphere of influence — Max Ascoli

falls within the jurisdiction of this city

species fall under genera

(3) : to divide naturally — usually used with into

his creative output falls into three distinct classes

the area falls into a number of physiographic regions

(4) : to break up : separate

they fell into two factions — R.A.Billington

under the enemy thrust, the division fell to pieces


a. : to pass usually somewhat suddenly and passively into a certain state of body or mind or a new condition or relation : become

fell at musing — Hugh McCrae

I fell silent

fell prey to dangerous diseases

the brittle dish fell apart

the tax falls due this month

fell heir to the estate

fell in love

— often used with into

fell into a heavy slumber

ran a street or two … and then fell into a walk — Arthur Morrison

the word fell into disuse

b. : to come by chance into close or friendly dealings with a particular individual or group : have a chance encounter

a college he fell into a congenial crowd of artistic and literary young men

— often used in the phrases fall among or fall in with

a bluff and simple country gentleman who had inadvertently fallen among politicians — C.H.Driver

fell in with a Russian gentleman and his daughter — Norman Douglas

he thought he was close to land when he fell in with a ship — Walter Hayward

c. : to set about usually heartily or actively : begin — often used with an infinitive of action

fell to work

or a verbal noun after the prefix a-

fell a-laughing

6. archaic

a. : to revert to a feudal superior — used of a benefice

b. : to become vacant — used of an office

7. : to have a certain direction or point of incidence : strike , impinge

a ray of light fell on the table

music falling on the ear

the shot fell a great distance from its target


a. : to form an ardent and usually sudden attachment : become passionately or blindly fond or enamored

one look at the girl and he fell — but hard

— usually used with for

have you fallen for that young female grasshopper … at your age — Sinclair Lewis

he has fallen for the ravishing widow — C.J.Rolo

b. : to become victim of a hoax or deception : become gulled or deceived

they just don't fall any more — Reed Whittemore

— usually used with for

a reform movement that has fallen for a panacea — F.L.Allen

9. slang : to undergo arrest

he fell twice, for theft and burglary — Wallace Beene

transitive verb

1. archaic : to let drop or bring down (as tears or a weapon)

2. dialect England : to receive as one's share : get

3. : fell vt 1


fall , drop , sink , slump , and subside can mean in common to go or let go downward freely. fall , intransitive, suggests a descent by the force of gravity, always implying a loss of support opposing gravity in extension applying to anything extending downward or going figuratively in a downward direction

let a glass fall to the ground and shatter

the supports gone, the structure fell in a heap

the roof had fallen in on another speaker — Bennett Cerf

hair falling over a woman's shoulders

the birthrate fell over a 6-month period, then rose

let fall a remark about the weather

drop usually stresses a speed, directness, unexpectedness, or casualness in falling or allowing to fall

dropped a coin into a pond

dropped seeds into holes

dropping to the ground at the sound of an air-raid warning

dropping a hint of coming trouble

income figures dropped during the slow winter season

sink implies a gradual descending motion, especially into something, often to the point of total submersion

the ship sank gradually into the placid sea

the float on the fish line sank a moment, then bobbed furiously

the thermometer sank to far below zero — Douglas Carruthers

sinking to her knees from exhaustion

slump now implies a falling or collapsing as of someone suddenly powerless or suddenly totally enervated

slumping to the ground, unconscious

slumped in his seat

prices slumped badly in the winter

when a bird falls asleep, it relaxes and slumps down until its body rests against the perch — J.H.Baker

subside suggests a gradual descent or return to a normal or usual position, action, or condition after an undue rising, expanding, boiling up; often it can suggest a sinking below a normal or usual level

a wind rising then subsiding

he lost a quarter of an hour waiting for the flood to subside — Mary Austin

the bustle subsides and relative calm is resumed — American Guide Series: North Carolina

the child's quick temper subsided into listlessness — Agnes Repplier

after the boom prices subsided to a level far below normal

- fall a cropper

- fall by the wayside

- fall down

- fall flat

- fall foul

- fall from

- fall from grace

- fall home

- fall into line

- fall off the roof

- fall on

- fall on one's face

- fall over oneself

- fall short

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English, from Old English feall; akin to Old Frisian, Old Saxon, & Old High German fal fall, Old Norse fall, deverbatives from the root of English fall (I)



(1) : the act of dropping or descending by the force of gravity

the fall of a stone

a fall from a horse

the leading cause of home deaths continued to be falls — Americana Annual

a fall on the ice

(2) : a guided descent or drop through the air

the fall of an ax

the fall of a man's foot

specifically : a descent to the floor in modern-dance technique that can be effected in a variety of ways and that resolves into a recovery or rise

(3) : a position in which a wrestler's scapular area is held in contact with the mat for a given period of time ; also : the act of putting an opponent in this position for the prescribed time


(1) : a falling out, off, or away : dropping , shedding

the fall of leaves

a fall of snow

(2) : the season when leaves fall from trees : autumn

(3) : the approach or onset especially of night or darkness

he came along the road in the chill fall of the evening — Padraic Colum


(1) : a thing or quantity that falls or has fallen

examined the fall of earth at the mouth of the tunnel — G.A.Wagner

a freak 20-inch fall of rain

specifically : one or more meteorites or their fragments that have fallen together at one place and time

(2) : birth or production by birth ; also : something which is so produced

a good fall of lambs

d. : something that hangs down

pushed back the fall of hair from her forehead — Berton Roueché


(1) : a costume decoration of lace or thin fabric arranged to hang loosely and gracefully especially from the back edge of a bonnet

(2) : a very wide collar of fine fabric and lace worn in the 17th century especially by Cavaliers

(3) : the part of a turned-over collar from the crease to the outer edge — compare stand

(4) : a wide front flap on trousers (as those worn by sailors)

(5) : the freely hanging lower edge of the skirt of a coat — often used in plural

would have done it … had I not taken him by the falls of his skirt — Hugh McCrae

(6) : one of the three outer and often drooping segments of the flower of an iris — usually used in plural

(7) : long hair overhanging the face of certain terriers

(8) : a hoisting-tackle rope or chain ; especially : the part of it to which the power is applied

(9) : boat fall

e. : the manner in which something hangs down

the fall of a woman's hair


a. : loss of greatness, power, status, influence, or dominion : collapse , downfall

the fall of the Roman Empire

the rise and fall of business firms — Economic Journal

specifically : loss of office by a government or ministry especially as a result of an adverse parliamentary vote

the fall of a government on a vote of confidence

b. : the surrender or capture of a besieged fortress or town

the fall of Troy


(1) : lapse or departure from innocence or goodness : spiritual ruin

fall from virtue

— used with the and often cap. in reference to the fall of man reported in Gen 3

(2) : loss of a woman's chastity

(3) : the cause of falling from virtue, grace, or power

his stubbornness was his fall


a. : the descent of land or a hill : downward direction : slope , declivity

the well-remembered fall of the land, dropping away to the old rice fields — Hamilton Basso

b. : precipitous descent of water : cascade , cataract , waterfall

the first fall is about 60 feet high — American Guide Series: Tennessee

— usually plural but often sing. in constr.

the falls of Niagara

the upper falls has a sheer plunge of 20 feet — Journal of Geology


(1) : a musical cadence

(2) : double appoggiatura

d. : a falling-pitch intonation in speech

4. : diminution or decrease in size, quantity, or degree : decline

the persistently steep fall in immigration — Peter Scott

it was a compensation for a fall in excitement and satisfaction in their … lives — W.D.Howells

the main fall in the average family size … had already taken place — Roy Lewis & Angus Maude

the steady fall in purchasing power

specifically : diminution or decrease in price or value

recent heavy falls in the stock market

a fall of rents


a. : the distance or extent to which something falls or slopes : the difference between levels

a cultivated field … with a fall of five feet in a hundred feet — J.B.Robson

a fall of five points in the price of a stock

the Mississippi has a fall of 620 feet between Minnesota and the Gulf — American Guide Series: Minnesota

b. : inclination , pitch

a flat roof with a barely perceptible fall

adjust the fall of the gutter so the water would run along it faster


a. : the act of felling

b. : the quantity of trees cut down

7. Scotland : something that befalls one : fortune , lot

may good fortune be your fall

8. slang : arrest

served time on narcotics and prostitution falls — Jack Lait & Lee Mortimer

- take a fall out of

III. adjective

: of fall or autumn : being such as occurs, matures, is done, or is suited for use or wear in the fall

bought a fall coat

brisk fall weather

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.