fall1 W1S1 [fo:l US fo:l] v past tense fell [fel] past participle fallen [ˈfo:lən US ˈfo:l-]
1¦(move downwards)¦
2¦(stop standing/walking etc)¦
5¦(belong to a group)¦
6 fall short of something
7 fall victim/prey to something/somebody
8 night/darkness/dusk falls
9 silence/a hush/sadness etc falls
10¦(start doing something)¦
11 fall into place
12 fall to pieces/bits
13 be falling to pieces/bits
14 fall flat
15 fall foul of somebody/something
16 fall by the wayside
17 fall from grace/favour
18 fall from a great height
19 fall into the hands/clutches of somebody
20 fall into a trap/pitfall
21 fall into step
22 fall into line
23¦(hang down)¦
25¦(special event/celebration)¦
26¦(lose power)¦
27¦(be taken by an enemy)¦
28¦(be killed)¦
30 it's as easy as falling off a log
32 fall between two stools
33 fall on stony ground
34 fall from somebody's lips
35 the stress/accent/beat falls on something
Phrasal verbs
 fall about
 fall apart
 fall away
 fall back
 fall back into something
 fall back on somebody/something
 fall behind (somebody/something)
 fall down
 fall for somebody/something
 fall in
 fall into something
 fall in with somebody/something
 fall off
 fall on/upon somebody/something
 fall out
 fall over
 fall through
 fall to somebody/something
[: Old English; Origin: feallan]
to move or drop down from a higher position to a lower position
The tree was about to fall.
The book fell from his hands.
Enough rain had fallen to flood the grounds.
fall down
Rob fell down the stairs.
She flushed and her eyes fell (=she looked down) .
to suddenly go down onto the ground after you have been standing, walking, or running, especially without intending to
I fell and hit my head.
slip/stumble/trip etc and fall
He slipped and fell on the ice.
fall down
Lizzie fell down and hurt her knee.
Peter was playing by the river when he fell in (=fell into the water) .
fall to/on your knees
(=move down to the ground so that your body is resting on your knees)
She fell to her knees beside his body.
fall flat on your face [i]atflat3 (5)
3.) ¦(DECREASE)¦
to go down to a lower level, amount, price etc, especially a much lower one
≠ ↑rise
The rate of inflation was falling.
The island is warm all year round and winter temperatures never fall below 10 degrees.
He believes that educational standards are falling.
fall from
Advertising revenue fell from $98.5 million to $93.3 million.
fall to
The number of subscribers had fallen to 1000.
fall sharply/steeply
(=by a large amount)
London share prices fell sharply yesterday.
4.) ¦(BECOME)¦ [I, linking verb]
to start to be in a new or different state
fall adj
I'll stay with her until she falls asleep .
I think that I've fallen in love with Angela.
She fell ill with flu.
Albert fell silent and turned his attention to his food.
fall into
The house was empty for many years and fell into disrepair.
One false step can mean falling into debt.
He fell into despair.
5.) ¦(BELONG TO A GROUP)¦ [I always + preposition]
to belong to or be part of a particular group, area of responsibility, range of things, or type of things
fall into
Many illnesses fall into the category of stress-related illnesses.
Leaders fall into two categories.
fall within
The judge said that this matter did not fall within the scope of the auditor's duties.
fall under
The job falls under the heading of 'sales and marketing'.
Meat and poultry production fall under the control of the Agriculture Department.
6.) fall short of sth
to be less than the amount or standard that is needed or that you want
This year's profit will fall short of 13%.
He would sack any of his staff who fell short of his high standards.
7.) fall victim/prey to sth/sb
to get a very serious illness or be attacked or deceived by someone
Breastfed babies are less likely to fall victim to stomach disorders.
Young men are more likely to fall victim to violence.
8.) night/darkness/dusk falls
if night etc falls, it starts to become dark at the beginning of the night
It grew colder as night fell.
Darkness had fallen by the time we reached home.
9.) silence/a hush/sadness etc falls
[i]literary used to say that a person, group, or place becomes quiet, sad etc
A long silence fell between us.
to start doing something or being involved with something, often without intending to
I fell into conversation with some guys from New York.
He had fallen into the habit of having a coffee every time he passed the coffee machine.
11.) fall into place
a) if parts of a situation that you have been trying to understand fall into place, you start to understand how they are connected with each other
Suddenly, all the details started falling into place.
b) if the parts of something that you want to happen fall into place, they start to happen in the way that you want
I was lucky because everything fell into place at exactly the right time.
12.) fall to pieces/bits
a) to break into many pieces
= ↑fall apart
The book had been well used and finally fell to pieces.
b) if something such as a plan or a relationship falls to pieces, it stops working properly
= ↑fall apart
The family is falling to pieces.
13.) be falling to pieces/bits
if something is falling to pieces, it is in very bad condition, especially because it is very old
= ↑be falling apart
The house is falling to pieces.
14.) fall flat
if a joke, remark, or performance falls flat, it fails to interest or amuse people
Marlow's attempts at jokes fell flat.
15.) fall foul of sb/sth
to do something which makes someone angry or which breaks a rule, with the result that you are punished
He is worried that his teenage kids will fall foul of the law .
16.) fall by the wayside
to fail, or to stop being done, used, or made
Health reform was one of his goals that fell by the wayside.
Luxury items fall by the wayside during a recession.
17.) fall from grace/favour
to stop being liked by people in authority
He fell from grace for the first time when he was convicted of drink-driving.
18.) fall from a great height
to be forced to leave an important job or position, or lose the respect that people had for you
19.) fall into the hands/clutches of sb
if something or someone falls into the hands of an enemy or dangerous person, the enemy etc gets control or possession of them
He wants to prevent the business falling into the hands of a competitor.
We must not let these documents fall into the wrong hands .
20.) fall into a trap/pitfall
to make a mistake that many people make
Don't fall into the trap of feeling guilty.
21.) fall into step
a) to start to walk next to someone else, at the same speed as them
fall into step beside/with
Holly slowed her pace and fell into step with the old man.
b) to start doing something in the same way as the other members of a group
fall into step with
The other countries on the Council are expected to fall into step with the US.
22.) fall into line
to obey someone or do what other people want you to do, especially when you do not want to do it at first
Most countries have signed the treaty but some are reluctant to fall into line.
23.) ¦(HANG DOWN)¦ [I always + adverb/preposition]
to hang down loosely
fall over
His dark hair fell over his face.
24.) ¦(LIGHT/SHADOW)¦ [I always + adverb/preposition]
to shine on a surface or go onto a surface
The last rays of sunlight were falling on the fields.
Arthur's shadow fell across the doorway.
25.) ¦(SPECIAL EVENT/CELEBRATION)¦ [I always + adverb/preposition]
to happen on a particular day or at a particular time
I'd like to dedicate this record to all whose anniversaries fall at this time of year.
fall on
Her birthday will fall on a Friday this year.
26.) ¦(LOSE POWER)¦ [I]
if a leader or a government falls, they lose their position of power
The previous government fell after only 6 months in office.
if a place falls in a war or an election, a group of soldiers or a political party takes control of it
fall to
The city fell to the advancing Russian armies.
28.) ¦(BE KILLED)¦ [I]
to be killed in a war
= ↑die
29.) ¦(HIT)¦ [I always + adverb/preposition]
to hit a particular place or a particular part of someone's body
fall on
The first punch fell on his nose.
30.) it's as easy as falling off a log
[i]spoken used to say that something is very easy to do
31.) ¦(VOICE/SOUND)¦
if someone's voice or a sound falls, it becomes quieter or lower
≠ ↑rise
32.) fall between two stools
[i]BrE to be neither one type of thing nor another, or be unable to choose between two ways of doing something
33.) fall on stony ground
BrE if a request, suggestion, joke etc falls on stony ground, it is ignored or people do not like it
34.) fall from sb's lips
literary if words fall from someone's lips, they say them
35.) the stress/accent/beat falls on sth
used to say that a particular part of a word, phrase, or piece of music is emphasized or is played more loudly than the rest
In the word 'report', the stress falls on the second syllable.
be/fall under a spell atspell2 (3), fall on your feet atfoot1 (19), sb's face fell atface1 (2), stand or fall by/on atstand1 (33)
fall about phr v
to laugh a lot about something
It was so funny everyone just fell about laughing .
fall apart phr v
1.) if an organization, system, relationship etc falls apart, it stops being effective or successful
Don't be reckless or your plans may fall apart.
The minister claimed that the health service was falling apart at the seams .
2.) be falling apart
to be in very bad condition
Tommy's old bicycle was rusty and falling apart.
3.) to break into pieces
The book fell apart in my hands.
4.) to be unable to deal with your personal or emotional problems
She had to get some rest or she was going to fall apart.
5.) sb's world/life falls apart
if someone's world or life falls apart, something very bad and serious happens which changes their life
When his wife left him, his world fell apart.
fall away phr v
1.) to slope down
From where we stood, the ground fell away sharply to the valley floor.
2.) to become separated from something after being fixed to it
The paint was falling away in patches.
3.) if a feeling falls away, you stop having it, usually suddenly
The view from the top was wonderful and our tiredness fell away.
4.) BrE to decrease
= ↑fall
≠ ↑rise
Demand for our more theoretical courses has fallen away.
fall back phr v
1.) if soldiers fall back, they move back because they are being attacked
= ↑retreat
He yelled for his men to fall back.
2.) to move backwards because you are very surprised, frightened etc
Scott fell back a pace in astonishment.
3.) BrE to decrease
= ↑fall
≠ ↑rise
When inflation started to rise, house prices fell back.
fall back into [fall back into sth] phr v
to go back to doing something or behaving in a way which you did before
I was amazed at how easily I fell back into the old routine.
fall back on / [fall back on sb/sth] phr v
to use something or depend on someone's help when dealing with a difficult situation, especially after other methods have failed
have sb/sth to fall back on
She has no relatives to fall back on.
Where negotiation fails, they must fall back on the law.
fall behind (/) [fall behind (sb/sth)] phr v
1.) to go more slowly than other people so that they gradually move further ahead of you
His mother was chatting and didn't notice that he had fallen behind.
She hurt her ankle and had fallen behind the others.
2.) to become less successful than other people, companies, countries etc
After her time in hospital, Jenny's parents are afraid she has fallen behind educationally.
Companies that are not market-driven risk falling behind the competition.
3.) to fail to finish a piece of work or pay someone money that you owe them at the right time
fall behind (somebody/something) with/on
After losing his job, he fell behind with his mortgage payments.
The project has fallen behind schedule .
fall down phr v
1.) be falling down
if a building is falling down, it is in very bad condition
The bridge is falling down and will need a million dollars to repair it.
2.) to fail because of a particular reason or in a particular way
That's where the whole argument falls down.
fall down on
He is falling down on the supervisory aspects of his job.
The local authority is falling down on the job of keeping the streets clean.
fall for / [fall for sb/sth] phr v
1.) to be tricked into believing something that is not true
He is too smart to fall for that trick.
2.) to start to love someone
That was the summer I worked at the fairground, and met and fell for Lucy.
3.) to like a place as soon as you see it
fall in phr v
1.) if the roof, ceiling etc falls in, it falls onto the ground
2.) to start walking or forming a line of people behind someone else
fall in behind
His men fell in behind him and they left.
fall into [fall into sth] phr v
1.) to move somewhere quickly by relaxing your body and letting it fall on something
She turned and fell into his arms.
We fell into bed, exhausted.
2.) to start doing something by chance
I fell into the job really.
fall in with / [fall in with sb/sth] phr v
1.) to accept someone's ideas, decisions etc and not disagree with them
Once she explained her problem, he was happy to fall in with her plans.
2.) to become friendly with a person or group of people after meeting them by chance
= ↑get in with
She fell in with the wrong crowd in her teens.
fall off phr v
1.) fall off (sth)
if part of something falls off, it becomes separated from the main part
The door handle keeps falling off.
A button had fallen off her jacket.
2.) if the amount, rate, or quality of something falls off, it decreases
= ↑fall
≠ ↑rise
Audience figures fell off during the second series of the programme.
3.) sb nearly/almost fell off their chair
spoken used to say that someone was very surprised when something happened
When I saw my brother on the stage I nearly fell off my chair.
fall off the back of a lorry atlorry
fall on/upon / [fall on/upon sb/sth] phr v
1.) if a duty or job falls on someone, they are responsible for doing it
The responsibility usually falls on the mother.
2.) literary to eagerly start eating or using something
She fell on the food as if she hadn't eaten for days.
3.) literary to suddenly attack or get hold of someone
Some of the older boys fell on him and broke his glasses.
4.) sb's eyes/gaze/glance fall(s) on sth
if your eyes etc fall on something, you notice it
His eyes fell on her bag. 'Are you going somewhere?'
5.) fall on hard/bad times
to experience difficulties and problems in your life such as not having enough money
The aim is to raise money for workers who have fallen on hard times.
fall on deaf ears atdeaf
fall out phr v
1.) to have a quarrel
fall out with
Carrie's always falling out with people.
2.) if a tooth or your hair falls out, it is then no longer attached to your body
The drugs made her hair fall out.
3.) if soldiers fall out, they stop standing in a line and move away to different places
fall over phr v
1.) to fall onto the ground or to fall from an upright position
Tommy fell over and cut his knee badly.
Her bike fell over.
2.) fall over sth
to hit your foot against something by mistake and fall to the ground
= ↑trip over
She fell over the dog and broke her front teeth.
3.) fall over yourself to do sth
to be very eager to do something, especially something you do not usually do
People were falling over themselves to help her.
fall through phr v
if an agreement, plan, sale etc falls through, it is not completed successfully
The studio planned to make a movie of the book but the deal fell through.
fall to / [fall to sb/sth] phr v
1.) if a duty or job falls to someone, they are responsible for doing it, especially when this is difficult or unpleasant
It fell to me to give her the bad news.
2.) written to start doing something
They fell to work with a will.
fall to doing sth
He fell to thinking about how nice a warm bath would be.
fall 2
fall2 W2S2 n
1¦(movement down)¦
4¦(loss of power/success)¦
5 fall from grace
7 falls
10 the Fall
movement down towards the ground or towards a lower position
the first fall of autumn leaves
The rise and fall of the dancers' bodies create a pattern.
Mrs Evans had a fall (=fell to the ground) and broke her leg.
He stretched out his hands to break his fall (=prevent himself from falling too quickly and hurting himself) .
a reduction in the amount, level, price etc of something
≠ ↑rise fall in
There has been a fall in oil prices.
sharp/steep fall
the sharp fall in the birth rate in European countries
fall of
Their industrial output went down again in December, which meant a fall of 2.2% over the year.
3.) ¦(SEASON)¦ [singular]
AmE the season between summer and winter, when leaves change colour and the weather becomes slightly colder
= ↑autumn
Eleanor plans to go to Southwestern Community College this fall.
The area is beautiful in the fall.
4.) ¦(LOSS OF POWER/SUCCESS)¦ [singular]
a situation in which someone or something loses their position of power or becomes unsuccessful
fall from
The president lived on for twenty years after his fall from power.
the story of Napoleon's rise and fall (=period of success followed by failure)
Rumours are that the company is heading for a fall (=is likely to fail soon) .
5.) fall from grace
a situation in which someone stops being respected by other people or loses their position of authority, especially because they have done something wrong
He was the head of the intelligence service until his fall from grace.
6.) ¦(DEFEAT)¦ [singular]
a situation in which a country, city etc is defeated by an enemy
fall of
the fall of Jerusalem in AD70
7.) falls also Falls [plural]
a place where a river suddenly goes straight down over a cliff
The spray from the falls is so dense that you can hardly see.
Niagara Falls
8.) ¦(SPORT)¦
an act of forcing your opponent onto the ground in ↑wrestling or ↑judo
9.) ¦(SNOW/ROCKS)¦
an amount of snow, rocks etc that falls onto the ground
fall of
Fresh falls of snow were forecast.
The road is blocked by a rock fall.
10.) the Fall also the fall
the occasion in the Bible when God punished Adam and Eve by making them leave the Garden of Eden

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.

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