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:


Failure is the most terrible thing in our business. When we fail, the whole world knows about it.

-- Desi Arnaz (American Actor)

It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.

-- Theodore Roosevelt (American President)

The greatest real thrill that life offers is to create, to construct, to develop something useful. Too often we fail to recognize and pay tribute to the creative spirit. It is that spirit that creates our jobs.

-- Alfred P. Sloan (American Businessman)

I think when you're doing a lead role, there is so much more pressure. If you fail, not only do you fail, but everybody else fails, too. As opposed to when it's a supporting role and it's only you that sucked.

-- Leelee Sobieski (American Actress)

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)

As an artist, I feel that we must try many things - but above all we must dare to fail.

-- John Cassavetes (American Actor)

I wasn't afraid to fail. Something good always comes out of failure.

-- Anne Baxter (American Actress)

Over and over again, financial experts and wonkish talking heads endeavor to explain these mysterious, 'toxic' financial instruments to us lay folk. Over and over, they ignobly fail, because we all know that no one understands credit default obligations and derivatives, except perhaps Mr. Buffett and the computers who created them.

-- Richard Dooling (American Novelist)

I do love television. But the business is accelerating and people are not getting the chance to fail.

-- Dick Wolf (American Producer)

Divide your movements into easy-to-do sections. If you fail, divide again.

-- Peter Nivio Zarlenga ( -)

You are the first President to whom the opportunity was ever offered constitutionally to inaugurate such a day. If you fail us now, you may be the last.

-- Jay Alan Sekulow (American Lawyer)

Intuition makes much of it; I mean by this the faculty of seeing a connection between things that in appearance are completely different; it does not fail to lead us astray quite often.

-- Andre Weil (French Mathematician)

Irregular contact with doctors means many men fail to receive any preventive care for potentially life-threatening conditions. In addition, when men do seek care, embarrassment can often prevent them from openly discussing health concerns with their physicians.

-- Michael Crapo (American Politician)

Pop culture hales you and wants you to fail.

-- Aisha Tyler (American Actress)

I'm a perfectionist. I can't help it, I get really upset with myself if I fail in the least.

-- Justin Timberlake (American Musician)

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)

Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.

-- Martin Luther King, Jr. (American Leader)

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.

-- R. D. Laing (Scottish Psychologist)

The glory of the old Irish nation, which in our hour will grow young and strong again. Should we fail, the country will not be worth more than it is now. The sword of famine is less sparing than the bayonet of the soldier.

-- Thomas F. Meagher ( -)

There are a lot of people out there who are just waiting that we fail. They brought up the theory that we're one-hit wonders and they want us to fall flat on our noses, just to prove them right.

-- Mark McGrath (American Musician)

I think that if my kids are completely convinced of God's unfailing love for them, whether they fail or not, they'll have confidence to persevere in life.

-- Amy Grant (American Musician)

Try as hard as we may for perfection, the net result of our labors is an amazing variety of imperfectness. We are surprised at our own versatility in being able to fail in so many different ways.

-- Samuel McChord Crothers ( -)

For imagination sets the goal picture which our automatic mechanism works on. We act, or fail to act, not because of will, as is so commonly believed, but because of imagination.

-- Maxwell Maltz (American Scientist)

I think our chances are not looking great today but the only way to fail for me is just not to try.

-- Garry Kasparov (Azerbaijani Celebrity)

Institutions - government, churches, industries, and the like - have properly no other function than to contribute to human freedom; and in so far as they fail, on the whole, to perform this function, they are wrong and need reconstruction.

-- Charles Horton Cooley (American Sociologist)

If you know you are going to fail, then fail gloriously.

-- Cate Blanchett (Australian Actress)

Fail I alone, in words and deeds? Why, all men strive and who succeeds?

-- Robert Browning (English Poet)

Any man who takes a job with the idea that it is simply a springboard for something else is a chump. His attention will be more on the other things than on the job at hand and so he will fail.

-- Charles Edison (American Businessman)

We will not bend or fail until the blood of every last Jew from the youngest child to the oldest elder is spilt to redeem our land!

-- Yasser Arafat ( Leader)

No one can fail to see that the power of the Church among large numbers in many communities is today diminishing, or has already ceased.

-- Felix Adler (German Educator)

If I can procure three hundred good substantial names of persons, or bodies, or institutions, I cannot fail to do well for my family, although I must abandon my life to its success, and undergo many sad perplexities and perhaps never see again my own beloved America.

-- John James Audubon (American Scientist)

I've never been afraid to fail.

-- Michael Jordan (American Athlete)

The best subjects are always people, who never fail to amaze me by their unpredictability.

-- Ronnie James Dio (American Musician)

A great novel is concerned primarily with the interior lives of its characters as they respond to the inconvenient narratives that fate imposes on them. Movie adaptations of these monumental fictions often fail because they become mere exercises in interior decoration.

-- Richard Schickel (American Author)

Remember the two benefits of failure. First, if you do fail, you learn what doesn't work; and second, the failure gives you the opportunity to try a new approach.

-- Roger von Oech ( -)


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