fail1 W1S2 [feıl] v
1¦(not succeed)¦
2¦(not do something)¦
4 I fail to see/understand
6¦(machine/body part)¦
8 never fail to do something
9 your courage/will/nerve fails (you)
10 fail somebody
[Date: 1200-1300; : Old French; Origin: faillir, from Latin fallere 'to deceive, disappoint']
to not succeed in achieving something
It looks likely that the peace talks will fail.
fail in
He failed in his attempt to regain the world title.
fail to do sth
Doctors failed to save the girl's life.
Millions of people have tried to quit smoking and failed miserably (=been completely unsuccessful) .
his efforts to save his failing marriage
If all else fails , you may be advised to have an operation.
to not do what is expected, needed, or wanted
fail to do sth
The letter failed to arrive.
Firms that fail to take advantage of the new technology will go out of business.
The government are failing in their duty to protect people.
3.) ¦(EXAM/TEST)¦
a) [I and T]
to not pass a test or examination
I failed my driving test the first time I took it.
Daniel failed maths but passed all his other subjects.
b) [T]
to decide that someone has not passed a test or examination
Her work was so bad that I had no choice but to fail her.
4.) I fail to see/understand
[i]formal used to show that you are annoyed by something that you do not accept or understand
I fail to see why you find it so amusing.
if a company or business fails, it is unable to continue because of a lack of money
if a part of a machine or an organ in your body fails, it stops working
The engine failed on take-off.
The hospital said that his kidneys were failing.
7.) ¦(HEALTH)¦ [I]
if your sight, memory, health etc is failing, it is gradually getting weaker or is not as good as it was
Failing eyesight forced him to retire early.
8.) never fail to do sth
to do something or happen so regularly that people expect it
My grandson never fails to phone me on my birthday.
9.) your courage/will/nerve fails (you)
if your courage etc fails, or if it fails you, you suddenly do not have it when you need it
She had to leave immediately, before her courage failed her.
10.) fail sb
to not do what someone has trusted you to do
= ↑let somebody down
I feel I've failed my children by not spending more time with them.
11.) ¦(CROPS)¦ [I]
if crops fail, they do not grow or produce food, for example because of bad weather
12.) ¦(RAINS)¦ [I]
if the ↑rains (=a lot of rain that falls at a particular time each year) fail, they do not come when expected or it does not rain enough
words fail me [i]atword1 (28)
fail 2
fail2 n
1.) without fail
a) if you do something without fail, you always do it
Tim visits his mother every day without fail.
b) used to tell someone very firmly that they must do something
I want that work finished by tomorrow, without fail!
an unsuccessful result in a test or examination
≠ ↑pass
I got a fail in history.

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

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