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  1. fail
  2. verb

    • 1. be unsuccessful in achieving one's goal:

      he failed in his attempt to secure election they failed to be ranked in the top ten
    • 2. be unsuccessful in (an examination, test, or interview):

      she failed her finals
      Synonym : be unsuccessful in, not pass, be found wanting, be found deficient, not make the grade, not pass muster, not come up to scratch, be rejected, flunk
    • 3. (of a person or a commodity) be unable to meet the standards set by (a test of quality or eligibility):

      the player has failed a drug test
    • 4. judge (someone, especially in an examination) not to have passed:

      the criteria used to pass or fail the candidate
    • 5. neglect to do something:

      the firm failed to give adequate risk warnings
    • 6. behave in a way contrary to hopes or expectations by not doing something:

      commuter chaos has again failed to materialize
    • 7. used to express a strong belief that something must be the case:

      you cannot fail to be deeply impressed
    • 8. used to indicate that something invariably happens:

      such comments never failed to annoy him
    • 9. desert or let down (someone):

      at the last moment her nerve failed her
      Synonym : let down, disappoint, break one's promise to, dash someone's hopes, fall short of someone's expectations, neglect, desert, abandon, betray, be disloyal to, be unfaithful to, break faith with, play someone false, do the dirty on, bail on, forsake
    • 10. break down; cease to work well:

      a truck whose brakes had failed
      Synonym : break down, break, stop working, cease to function, cut out, stop, stall, crash, give out, malfunction, act up, go wrong, develop a fault, be faulty, be defective, conk out, go kaput, go phut, give up the ghost, go on the blink, be on the blink, pack up, play up
    • 11. become weaker or of poorer quality; die away:

      the light began to fail his failing health
      Synonym : fade, grow less, grow dim, dim, die away, dwindle, wane, disappear, vanish, peter out, dissolve, deteriorate, degenerate, decline, go into decline, fade, diminish, dwindle, wane, ebb, sink, collapse, decay
    • 12. (especially of a rain or a crop or supply) be lacking or insufficient when needed or expected:

      the drought means crops have failed
      Synonym : be deficient, be wanting, be lacking, fall short, be insufficient, be inadequate, not come to ripeness, wither
    • 13. (of a business or a person) be obliged to cease trading because of lack of funds; become bankrupt:

      he lost his savings when the store failed
      Synonym : be unsuccessful, not succeed, lack success, fall through, fall flat, break down, abort, miscarry, be defeated, suffer defeat, be in vain, be frustrated, collapse, founder, misfire, backfire, not come up to scratch, meet with disaster, come to grief, come to nothing, come to naught, miss the mark, run aground, go astray, flop, fizzle out, flatline, come a cropper, bite the dust, bomb, blow up in someone's face, go down like a lead balloon, collapse, crash, go under, go bankrupt, become insolvent, go into receivership, be in the hands of the receivers, go into liquidation, cease trading, cease production, be closed, be shut down, close down, be wound up, fold, flop, go bust, go broke, go bump, go to the wall, go belly up


    • 1. a grade that is not high enough to pass an examination or test.

  3. Variation

    • v.: verb: fail, 3rd person present: fails, gerund or present participle: failing, past tense: failed, past participle: failed

    • verb

      be unsuccessful in achieving one's goal:

      be unsuccessful in (an examination or interview):

    • noun

      a mark which is not high enough to pass an examination or test:

      a mistake, failure, or instance of poor performance:

    • adjective

      (of an undertaking or a relationship) not achieving its end or not lasting; unsuccessful:

      (of a person) unsuccessful in a particular activity, especially not good enough to make a living by it:

    • noun

      a weakness, especially in character; a shortcoming:
    • preposition

      in default of; in the absence of:
    • adjective

      (of an undertaking or a relationship) not achieving its end or not lasting; unsuccessful:

      (of a person) unsuccessful in a particular activity:

    • noun

      a weakness, especially in a person's character; a shortcoming:
    • preposition

      in the absence of; if not:
    • adjective

      causing a piece of machinery or other mechanism to revert to a safe condition in the event of a breakdown or malfunction:

      unlikely or unable to fail:

    • noun

      a system or plan that comes into operation in the event of something going wrong or that is there to prevent such an occurrence:
    • adjective

      denoting a class, course, or system of grading in which the only two grades given are “pass” and “fail.”.
    • absolutely predictably; with no exception
    • one of the two main political parties of the Republic of Ireland. Larger and traditionally more republican than its rival Fine Gael, it was formed in 1926 in opposition to the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 by Eamon de Valera together with some of the moderate members of Sinn Fein.
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