—v.i. 1. to drop or descend under the force of gravity, as to a lower place through loss or lack of support.
2. to come or drop down suddenly to a lower position, esp. to leave a standing or erect position suddenly, whether voluntarily or not: to fall on one's knees. 3. to become less or lower; become of a lower level, degree, amount, quality, value, number, etc.; decline: The temperature fell ten degrees. Stock prices fell to a new low for the year. 4. to subside or abate.
5. extend downward; hang down: Her hair falls to her shoulders. 6. to become lowered or directed downward, as the eyes: My eyes fell before his steady gaze. 7. to become lower in pitch or volume: Her voice fell, and she looked about in confusion. 8. to succumb to temptation or sin, esp. to become unchaste or to lose one's innocence.
9. to lose status, dignity, position, character, etc.
10. to succumb to attack: The city fell to the enemy. 11. to be overthrown, as a government.
12. to drop down wounded or dead, esp. to be slain: to fall in battle. 13. to pass into some physical, mental, or emotional condition: to fall asleep; to fall in love. 14. to envelop or come as if by dropping, as stillness or night.
15. to issue forth: Witty remarks fall easily from his lips. 16. to come by lot or chance: The chore fell to him. 17. to come by chance into a particular position: to fall among thieves. 18. to come to pass, occur, or become at a certain time: Christmas falls on a Monday this year. The rent falls due the first of every month. 19. to have its proper place: The accent falls on the last syllable. 20. to come by right: The inheritance fell to the only living relative. 21. to be naturally divisible (usually fol. by into): The story fell into two distinct parts. 22. to lose animation; appear disappointed, as the face: His face fell when he heard the bad news. 23. to slope or extend in a downward direction: The field falls gently to the river. 24. to be directed, as light, sight, etc., on something: His eyes fell upon the note on the desk. 25. to collapse, as through weakness, damage, poor construction, or the like; topple or sink: The old tower fell under its own weight. The cake fell when he slammed the oven door. 26. (of an animal, esp. a lamb) to be born: Two lambs fell yesterday.
—v.t. 1. to fell (a tree, animal, etc.).
2. fall all over oneself, to show unusual or excessive enthusiasm or eagerness, esp. in the hope of being favored or rewarded: The young trainees fell all over themselves to praise the boss's speech.Also,fall over oneself. 3. fall away, a. to withdraw support or allegiance: The candidate's supporters fell away when he advocated racial discrimination. b. to become lean or thin; diminish; decline.
c. to forsake one's faith, cause, or principles: Many fell away because they were afraid of reprisals. 4. fall back, to give way; recede; retreat: The relentless shelling forced the enemy to fall back. 5. fall back on or upon, a. Also,fall back to.to retreat to: They fell back on their entrenchments. The troops fell back to their original position. b. to have recourse to; rely on: They had no savings to fall back on. 6. fall behind, a. to lag, in pace or progress: We are falling behind in our work. Fatigued, some of the marchers fell behind. b. to fail to pay (a debt, obligation, etc.) at the appointed time: She fell behind in her tax payments, and the property was confiscated. 7. fall down,Informal.to perform disappointingly; to disappoint; fail: He was doing well on the exam until he fell down on the last essay question. 8. fall for,Slang. a. to be deceived by: Imagine falling for such an old trick. b. to fall in love with: He's not at all the type you would expect her to fall for. 9. fall foul or afoul of. See foul (def. 20).
10. fall in, a. to fall to pieces toward the interior; sink inward.
b. to take one's place in the ranks, as a soldier.
c. Also,fall in with.to become acquainted with, esp. by chance: We fell in with an interesting couple from Paris. 11. fall off, a. to separate from; withdraw.
b. to decrease in number, amount, or intensity; diminish: Tourism falls off when the summer is over. c. Naut.to deviate from the heading; fall to leeward.
d. South Midland and Southern U.S.to lose weight, usually due to illness: She was sick all winter and fell off till she was just skin and bones. 12. fall off the roof,Slang(older use). to menstruate.
13. fall on or upon, a. to assault; attack: The enemy fell on them suddenly from the rear. b. to be the obligation of: It has fallen on me to support the family. c. to experience; encounter: Once well-to-do, they had fallen on hard times. d. to chance upon; come upon: I fell upon the idea while looking through a magazine. 14. fall on one's feet. See land (def. 25).
15. fall out, a. to quarrel; disagree: We fell out over who was to wash the dishes. b. to happen; occur: It fell out that we met by chance weeks later. c. to leave one's place in the ranks, as a soldier: They were ordered to fall out when the parade ended. d. Slang.to burst out laughing.
e. South Midland and Southern U.S.to become unconscious; pass out.
16. fall out of bed, to get out of bed quickly.
17. fall over backward(s). a. See bend (def. 15).
b. to exhibit great eagerness, esp. in pursuit of one's own advantage: The candidate fell over backward in support of the issues that would win votes. 18. fall or come short. See short (def. 30).
19. fall through, to come to nothing; fail of realization: Despite all his efforts, the deal fell through. 20. fall to, a. to apply oneself; begin: to fall to work. b. to begin to eat: They fell to and soon finished off the entire turkey. 21. fall under, a. to be the concern or responsibility of.
b. to be classified as; be included within: That case falls under the heading of errors of judgment.
—n. 1. an act or instance of falling or dropping from a higher to a lower place or position.
2. that which falls or drops: a heavy fall of rain. 3. the season of the year that comes after summer and before winter; autumn.
4. a becoming less; a lowering or decline; a sinking to a lower level: the fall of the Roman Empire. 5. the distance through which anything falls: It is a long fall to the ground from this height. 6. Usually, falls. a cataract or waterfall.
7. downward slope or declivity: the gentle rise and fall of the meadow. 8. a falling from an erect position, as to the ground: to have a bad fall. 9. a hanging down: a fall of long hair. 10. a succumbing to temptation; lapse into sin.
11. the Fall,(sometimes l.c.)Theol.the lapse of human beings into a state of natural or innate sinfulness through the sin of Adam and Eve.
12. Slang.an arrest by the police.
13. surrender or capture, as of a city.
14. proper place: the fall of an accent on a syllable. 15. Wrestling. a. an act or instance of holding or forcing an opponent's shoulders against the mat for a specified length of time.
b. a match or division of a match.
16. a hairpiece consisting of long hair that is attached to one's own hair at the crown and usually allowed to hang freely down the back of the head so as to cover or blend with the natural hair.
17. an opaque veil hanging loose from the back of a hat.
18. See falling band. 19. a decorative cascade of lace, ruffles, or the like.
20. Mach.,Naut.the part of the rope of a tackle to which the power is applied in hoisting.
21. Hunting.a deadfall.
22. the long soft hair that hangs over the forehead and eyes of certain terriers.
23. Armor.a pivoted peak projecting over the face opening of a burgonet.
24. Astrol.the sign of the zodiac in which the most negative influence of a planet is expressed (as opposed to exaltation).
25. Mining.rock or ore that has collapsed from a roof, hanging wall, or the sides of a passage.
Pronunciation: (fôl),[key] —n. Albert Bacon, 1861–1944, U.S. politician: senator 1912–21; secretary of the Interior 1921–23; convicted in Teapot Dome scandal.
(French, La Chute), a novel (1957) by Albert Camus.