Befall is an old-fashioned or literary way of saying something happened by chance. Bad luck befalls a heroine who drops her lucky rabbit foot.

When something befalls you, it’s like bad luck falling on you. An earthquake can befall a city. A terrible disease could befall a child. A bolt of lightning could befall a very unlucky person. When something befalls you, you’re in trouble. Tragedies befall families in many of Shakespeare’s plays — that’s what makes them so much fun.

Definitions of befall
  1. verb
    become of; happen to
    “He promised that no harm would befall her”
    synonyms: bechance, betide
  2. verb
    happen, occur, or be the case in the course of events or by chance
    “"These things befell" (Santayana)”
    synonyms: bechance, happen
    chance to be or do something, without intention or causation
Word Family

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