befall

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

v become of; happen to

“He promised that no harm would befall her”
Synonyms:
bechance, betide
Type of:
come about, fall out, go on, hap, happen, occur, pass, pass off, take place
come to pass

v happen, occur, or be the case in the course of events or by chance

“"These things befell" (Santayana)”
Synonyms:
bechance, happen
happen
chance to be or do something, without intention or causation
Type of:
come about, fall out, go on, hap, happen, occur, pass, pass off, take place
come to pass

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.