Definitions for: Fail


[v] prove insufficient; "The water supply for the town failed after a long drought"
[v] get worse; "Her health is declining"
[v] stop operating or functioning; "The engine finally went"; "The car died on the road"; "The bus we travelled in broke down on the way to town"; "The coffee maker broke"; "The engine failed on the way to town"; "her eyesight went after the accident"
[v] disappoint, prove undependable to; abandon, forsake; "His sense of smell failed him this time"; "His strength finally failed him"; "His children failed him in the crisis"
[v] become bankrupt or insolvent; fail financially and close; "The toy company went bankrupt after the competition hired cheap Mexican labor"; "A number of banks failed that year"
[v] fall short in what is expected; "She failed in her obligations as a good daughter-in-law"
[v] fail to get a passing grade; "She studied hard but failed nevertheless"; "Did I fail the test?"
[v] judge unacceptable; "The teacher failed six students"
[v] be unsuccessful; "Where do today's public schools fail?"; "The attempt to rescue the hostages failed miserably"
[v] fail to do something; leave something undone; "She failed to notice that her child was no longer in his crib"; "The secretary failed to call the customer and the company lost the account"
[v] be unable; "I fail to understand your motives"



Webster (1913) Definition: Failv. i. [imp. & p. p. Failed; p. pr. & vb. n.
Failing.] [F. failir, fr. L. fallere, falsum, to deceive,
akin to E. fall. See Fail, and cf. Fallacy, False,
Fault.]
1. To be wanting; to fall short; to be or become deficient in
any measure or degree up to total absence; to cease to be
furnished in the usual or expected manner, or to be
altogether cut off from supply; to be lacking; as, streams
fail; crops fail.

As the waters fail from the sea. --Job xiv. 11.

Till Lionel's issue fails, his should not reign.
--Shak.

2. To be affected with want; to come short; to lack; to be
deficient or unprovided; -- used with of.

If ever they fail of beauty, this failure is not be
attributed to their size. --Berke.

3. To fall away; to become diminished; to decline; to decay;
to sink.

When earnestly they seek Such proof, conclude they
then begin to fail. --Milton.

4. To deteriorate in respect to vigor, activity, resources,
etc.; to become weaker; as, a sick man fails.

5. To perish; to die; -- used of a person. [Obs.]

Had the king in his last sickness failed. --Shak.

6. To be found wanting with respect to an action or a duty to
be performed, a result to be secured, etc.; to miss; not
to fulfill expectation.

Take heed now that ye fail not to do this. --Ezra
iv. 22.

Either my eyesight fails, or thou look'st pale.
--Shak.

7. To come short of a result or object aimed at or desired;
to be baffled or frusrated.

Our envious foe hath failed. --Milton.

8. To err in judgment; to be mistaken.

Which ofttimes may succeed, so as perhaps Shall
grieve him, if I fail not. --Milton.

9. To become unable to meet one's engagements; especially, to
be unable to pay one's debts or discharge one's business
obligation; to become bankrupt or insolvent.


Fail, v. t.
1. To be wanting to; to be insufficient for; to disappoint;
to desert.

There shall not fail thee a man on the throne. --1
Kings ii. 4.

2. To miss of attaining; to lose. [R.]

Though that seat of earthly bliss be failed.
--Milton.


Fail, n. [OF. faille, from failir. See Fail, v. i.]
1. Miscarriage; failure; deficiency; fault; -- mostly
superseded by failure or failing, except in the phrase
without fail. ``His highness' fail of issue.'' --Shak.

2. Death; decease. [Obs.] --Shak.

Synonyms: betray, break, break down, conk out, die, give out, give way, go, go bad, go wrong, miscarry, neglect, run out

Antonyms: bring off, carry off, come through, make it, manage, negociate, pass, pull off, succeed, win

See Also: ball up, blow, blow, blow out, bobble, bollix, bollix up, bollocks, bollocks up, botch, botch up, bumble, bungle, burn out, change, choke, crash, decline, default, default on, disappoint, fall, fall flat, fall through, flop, flub, fluff, foul up, founder, fuck up, fumble, go down, judge, let down, louse up, malfunction, mess up, misfire, misfunction, mishandle, miss, muck up, muff, overreach, screw up, shipwreck, spoil, strike out, take it on the chin, worsen

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Famous Quotes Containing Fail:


Our citizens and those who have gone before us charted the broad outlines of where we need to go, and they would envy our opportunity to translate those dreams into action. And I believe they will judge us very harshly should we fail to act.

-- Dave Freudenthal (American Politician)

I'm not afraid of failing. I don't like to fail. I hate to fail. But I'm not afraid of it.

-- Vince McMahon (American Entertainer)

All too many Muslims fail to grasp Islam, which teaches one to be lenient towards others and to understand their value systems, knowing that these are tolerated by Islam as a religion.

-- Abdurrahman Wahid (Indonesian Statesman)

The freedom to fail is vital if you're going to succeed. Most successful people fail from time to time, and it is a measure of their strength that failure merely propels them into some new attempt at success.

-- Michael Korda (English Novelist)

Small businesses are the number one job creators in America. Therefore, it is important that the federal government creates an environment that helps them succeed, not one that sets them up to fail.

-- Randy Neugebauer (American Politician)

The sad thing is, when it comes to diet, is that even when well-intentioned Feds try to do right by us, they fail. Either they're outvoted by puppets of agribusiness, or they are puppets of agribusiness.

-- Mark Bittman (American Author)

What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?

-- Robert H. Schuller (American Clergyman)

Although one may fail to find happiness in theatrical life, one never wishes to give it up after having once tasted its fruits.

-- Anna Pavlova (Russian Dancer)

It doesn't matter if you try and try and try again, and fail. It does matter if you try and fail, and fail to try again.

-- Charles Kettering (American Inventor)

The surest way to fail is not to determine to succeed.

-- Richard Brinsley Sheridan (Irish Playwright)

It is here, my daughters, that love is to be found - not hidden away in corners but in the midst of occasions of sin. And believe me, although we may more often fail and commit small lapses, our gain will be incomparably the greater.

-- Saint Teresa of Avila (Spanish Saint)

To fail is a natural consequence of trying, To succeed takes time and prolonged effort in the face of unfriendly odds. To think it will be any other way, no matter what you do, is to invite yourself to be hurt and to limit your enthusiasm for trying again.

-- David Viscott (American Psychologist)

All that is necessary to break the spell of inertia and frustration is to - act as if it were impossible to fail.

-- Dorothea Brande (American Writer)

An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one.

-- Charles Horton Cooley (American Sociologist)

If the people should elect, they will never fail to prefer some man of distinguished character, or services; some man, if he might so speak of continental reputation.

-- Gouverneur Morris (American Statesman)

I simply don't believe in failure. In itself, it doesn't exist. We create it. We make ourselves fail.

-- Alice Foote MacDougall ( -)

I have been threatened occasionally. But that happens to everybody who is writing this kind of things. Threats will come without fail. It might happen to the most 'innocent' texts. If it gets too much we call the police.

-- Steig Larsson ( Author)

No protracted war can fail to endanger the freedom of a democratic country.

-- Alexis de Tocqueville (French Scientist)

The United States of America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins. The killers will fail, and the Iraqi people will live in freedom.

-- George W. Bush (American President)

If politics and business fail us, of course the military will be called in. In the developing world, the massive and repeated ecological disasters are quite commonly met by the military.

-- Bruce Sterling (American Writer)

But in its final creation it was not the part of the Father's power to fail as though exhausted. It was not the part of His wisdom to waver in a needful matter through poverty of counsel.

-- Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (Italian Writer)

I think everyone has a certain kind of formula in their life. When you deviate from that formula, you're going to fail big or you're gonna win big.

-- Sylvester Stallone (American Actor)

God will not forgive us if we fail.

-- Leonid I. Brezhnev (Russian Statesman)

As long as you gave it your best shot, even if in the opinion of others "you failed," you didn't fail.

-- Al Lewis (American Actor)

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.

-- Herman Melville (American Novelist)

The United States is the most innovative country in the world. But our leadership could slip away if we fail to properly fund primary, secondary and higher education.

-- Jeff Bingaman (American Politician)

Whatever we do or fail to do will influence the course of history.

-- Arthur Henderson (British Politician)

Wars can be prevented just as surely as they can be provoked, and we who fail to prevent them, must share the guilt for the dead.

-- Omar N. Bradley (American Soldier)

General Lee, this is no place for you. These men behind you are Georgians and Virginians. They have never failed you and will not fail you here. Will you boys?

-- John Brown Gordon (American Soldier)

If you cry 'forward', you must without fail make plain in what direction to go.

-- Anton Chekhov (Russian Dramatist)

Let us go forward in this battle fortified by conviction that those who labour in the service of a great and good cause will never fail.

-- Owen Arthur (Barbadian Statesman)

So what is so strange about saying I want Barack Obama to fail if his mission is to reconstruct and reform this nation so that capitalism and individual liberty are not its foundation? I want the country to survive. I want the country to succeed.

-- Rush Limbaugh (American Entertainer)

I still feel like I gotta prove something. There are a lot of people hoping I fail. But I like that. I need to be hated.

-- Howard Stern (American Entertainer)

Under adversity, under oppression, the words begin to fail, the easy words begin to fail. In order to convey things accurately, the human being is almost forced to find the most precise words possible, which is a precondition for literature.

-- Rita Dove (American Poet)

We've talked to the Europeans about it. It's clear if those negotiations fail, then we are agreed with the Europeans that the next step is to take the matter to the U.N. Security Council.

-- Stephen Hadley (American Politician)


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