fall

Looking at the multitude of meanings for the word fall, one thing comes clear: the word is most often associated with a drop or descent of some kind, whether that be a physical fall from a high place or a metaphorical fall from power or grace.

In the 16th Century, autumn was known as "the fall of the leaf," which later became just fall, but the actual word is much older than that, traceable to the Old English feallan. Many meanings, including a fall in temperature, to fall in love or to fall asleep, all stem from the Middle Ages. If you're the "fall guy," you're going to get blamed, or "take the fall." If you fall in love and then fall out of favor with your beloved, your next action might fall under the category of "gift giving" or just "kissing up."

Primary Meanings of fall

1.
vn
descend in free fall under the influence of gravity
a movement downward
2.
n
the season when the leaves fall from the trees
3.
vn
yield to temptation or sin
a lapse into sin; a loss of innocence or of chastity
4.
v
be born, used chiefly of lambs
Full Definitions of fall
1

v descend in free fall under the influence of gravity

“The branch fell from the tree”
“The unfortunate hiker fell into a crevasse”
Synonyms:
come down, precipitate
fall from clouds
Type of:
go, locomote, move, travel
change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically

v move downward and lower, but not necessarily all the way

“The barometer is falling
“The curtain fell on the diva”
“Her hand went up and then fell again”
Synonyms:
come down, descend, go down
Antonyms:
arise, come up, go up, lift, move up, rise, uprise
move upward
ascend, go up
travel up, "We ascended the mountain"
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Types:
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prolapse
slip or fall out of place, as of body parts
abseil, rappel, rope down
lower oneself with a rope coiled around the body from a mountainside
dismount, get down, get off, light, unhorse
alight from (a horse)
avalanche, roll down
gather into a huge mass and roll down a mountain, of snow
dive, plunge, plunk
drop steeply
go down, go under, set
disappear beyond the horizon
correct, decline, slump
go down in value
precipitate
fall vertically, sharply, or headlong
sink, subside
descend into or as if into some soft substance or place
crash
fall or come down violently
flop
fall suddenly and abruptly
topple, tumble
fall down, as if collapsing
drop
to fall vertically
plop
drop with the sound of something falling into water
pitch
fall or plunge forward
alight, climb down
come down
go down, go under, settle, sink
go under, "The raft sank and its occupants drowned"
pounce, swoop
move down on as if in an attack
drip
fall in drops
cascade, cascade down
rush down in big quantities, like a cascade
power-dive
make a power dive
nosedive
plunge nose first; drop with the nose or front first, of aircraft
duck
submerge or plunge suddenly
crash-dive
descend steeply and rapidly
chute, jump, parachute
jump from an airplane and descend with a parachute
keel over
turn over and fall
dump, plunge
fall abruptly
plummet, plump
drop sharply
flump, flump down
fall heavily
settle, subside
sink down or precipitate
founder
sink below the surface
submerge, submerse
sink below the surface; go under or as if under water
decline
go down
stoop
descend swiftly, as if on prey
Type of:
go, locomote, move, travel
change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically

v lose an upright position suddenly

“The vase fell over and the water spilled onto the table”
“Her hair fell across her forehead”
Synonyms:
fall down
Type of:
change posture
undergo a change in bodily posture

v fall from clouds

“rain, snow and sleet were falling
Synonyms:
come down, precipitate
Types:
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rain, rain down
precipitate as rain
spat
come down like raindrops
snow
fall as snow
hail
precipitate as small ice particles
sleet
precipitate as a mixture of rain and snow
drizzle, mizzle
rain lightly
shower, shower down
rain abundantly
patter, pitter-patter, spatter, spit, sprinkle
rain gently
pelt, pour, rain buckets, rain cats and dogs, stream
rain heavily

v slope downward

“The hills around here fall towards the ocean”
Type of:
incline, pitch, slope
be at an angle

v drop oneself to a lower or less erect position

“She fell back in her chair”
“He fell to his knees”
Synonyms:
fall down
lose an upright position suddenly
Type of:
change posture
undergo a change in bodily posture

v fall or flow in a certain way

Synonyms:
flow, hang

v decrease in size, extent, or range

“The cabin pressure fell dramatically”
“her weight fell to under a hundred pounds”
“his voice fell to a whisper”
Synonyms:
decrease, diminish, lessen
Antonyms:
increase
become bigger or greater in amount
Types:
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break
diminish or discontinue abruptly
shrink, shrivel
decrease in size, range, or extent
taper
diminish gradually
drop off
fall or diminish
fly, vanish, vaporize
decrease rapidly and disappear
break
fall sharply
ease off, ease up, flag, slacken off
become less intense
weaken
become weaker
boil down, concentrate, decoct, reduce
be cooked until very little liquid is left
contract, shrink
become smaller or draw together
shrink, shrivel, shrivel up, wither
wither, as with a loss of moisture
abate, die away, let up, slack, slack off
become less in amount or intensity
deflate
become deflated or flaccid, as by losing air
dwindle, dwindle away, dwindle down
become smaller or lose substance
remit
diminish or abate
de-escalate
diminish in size, scope, or intensity
depreciate, devaluate, devalue, undervalue
lose in value
shorten
become short or shorter
thin out
become sparser
decline, go down, wane
grow smaller
wane
decrease in phase
wane
become smaller
decelerate, retard, slow, slow down, slow up
lose velocity; move more slowly
decrescendo
grow quieter
atrophy
undergo atrophy
attenuate
become weaker, in strength, value, or magnitude
disappear, evaporate, melt
become less intense and fade away gradually
die down
become progressively weaker
collapse
lose significance, effectiveness, or value
fade, melt
become less clearly visible or distinguishable; disappear gradually or seemingly
lessen, subside
wear off or die down
blast
shrivel or wither or mature imperfectly
die back, die down
suffer from a disease that kills shoots
dry up, mummify
dry up and shrivel due to complete loss of moisture
blur, dim, slur
become vague or indistinct
languish, pine away, waste
lose vigor, health, or flesh, as through grief
dull
make less lively or vigorous
pall
lose strength or effectiveness; become or appear boring, insipid, or tiresome (to)
loose, loosen, relax
become loose or looser or less tight
slacken
become looser or slack
dip
go down momentarily
wear on
pass slowly (of time)
drop
go down in value
slack, slacken, slow, slow down, slow up
become slow or slower
slow, slow down, slow up
cause to proceed more slowly
delay, detain, hold up
cause to be slowed down or delayed
wilt
lose strength
flex
contract
Type of:
change magnitude
change in size or magnitude

v pass suddenly and passively into a state of body or mind

fall into a trap”
“She fell ill”
“They fell out of favor”
fall asleep”
fall prey to an imposter”
fall into a strange way of thinking”
“she fell to pieces after she lost her work”
Synonyms:
drop away, drop off, fall away, slip
get worse
break, come apart, fall apart, separate, split up
become separated into pieces or fragments
crumble, fall apart
break or fall apart into fragments
drop off, fall back, fall behind, lose, recede
retreat
dawdle, fall back, fall behind, lag
hang (back) or fall (behind) in movement, progress, development, etc.
fall flat, fall through, flop, founder
fail utterly; collapse
fall for
be deceived, duped, or entrapped by
Types:
drop
fall or sink into a state of exhaustion or death
fall in love
begin to experience feelings of love towards
Type of:
change state, turn
undergo a transformation or a change of position or action

v come under, be classified or included

fall into a category”
Synonyms:
come
Type of:
be
have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)

v suffer defeat, failure, or ruin

“We must stand or fall
fall by the wayside”
Type of:
fail, go wrong, miscarry
be unsuccessful

v die, as in battle or in a hunt

“Many soldiers fell at Verdun”
“Several deer have fallen to the same gun”
“The shooting victim fell dead”
Type of:
buy the farm, cash in one's chips, choke, conk, croak, decease, die, drop dead, exit, expire, give-up the ghost, go, kick the bucket, pass, pass away, perish, pop off, snuff it
pass from physical life and lose all bodily attributes and functions necessary to sustain life

v be captured

“The cities fell to the enemy”
Type of:
yield
cease opposition; stop fighting

v lose office or power

“The government fell overnight”
“The Qing Dynasty fell with Sun Yat-sen”
Type of:
leave office, quit, resign, step down
give up or retire from a position

v move in a specified direction

“The line of men fall forward”
Type of:
go, locomote, move, travel
change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically

v touch or seem as if touching visually or audibly

“Light fell on her face”
Synonyms:
shine, strike
Type of:
come about, fall out, go on, hap, happen, occur, pass, pass off, take place
come to pass

v occur at a specified time or place

“Christmas falls on a Monday this year”
“The accent falls on the first syllable”
Type of:
come about, fall out, go on, hap, happen, occur, pass, pass off, take place
come to pass

v be due

“payments fall on the 1st of the month”
Type of:
be
have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)

v to be given by assignment or distribution

“The most difficult task fell on the youngest member of the team”
“The onus fell on us”
“The pressure to succeed fell on the youngest student”
Synonyms:
light
fall to somebody by assignment or lot

v fall to somebody by assignment or lot

“The task fell to me”
“It fell to me to notify the parents of the victims”
Synonyms:
light
accrue
come into the possession of
Type of:
devolve, pass, return
be inherited by

v be inherited by

“The estate fell to my sister”
Synonyms:
devolve, pass, return
accrue
come into the possession of
Types:
light
fall to somebody by assignment or lot
Type of:
change hands, change owners
be transferred to another owner

v to be given by right or inheritance

“The estate fell to the oldest daughter”

v come into the possession of

Synonyms:
accrue
devolve, pass, return
be inherited by
light
fall to somebody by assignment or lot
Type of:
change hands, change owners
be transferred to another owner

v assume a disappointed or sad expression

“Her face fell when she heard that she would be laid off”
“his crest fell
Type of:
change
undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature

v be cast down

“his eyes fell
Type of:
change
undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature

v go as if by falling

“Grief fell from our hearts”
Synonyms:
descend, settle
come as if by falling
Type of:
disappear, go away, vanish
get lost, as without warning or explanation

v come as if by falling

“Night fell
“Silence fell
Synonyms:
descend, settle
Type of:
come
come to pass; arrive, as in due course

v come out; issue

“silly phrases fell from her mouth”
Type of:
come forth, come out, egress, emerge, go forth, issue
come out of

v begin vigorously

“The prisoners fell to work right away”
Type of:
begin, commence, get, get down, set about, set out, start, start out
take the first step or steps in carrying out an action

n a movement downward

“the rise and fall of the tides”
Antonyms:
ascension, ascent, rise, rising
a movement upward
Type of:
change of location, travel
a movement through space that changes the location of something

n a downward slope or bend

Synonyms:
declension, declination, decline, declivity, descent, downslope
Antonyms:
acclivity, ascent, climb, raise, rise, upgrade
an upward slope or grade (as in a road)
Types:
downhill
the downward slope of a hill
steep
a steep place (as on a hill)
Type of:
incline, side, slope
an elevated geological formation

n a sudden drop from an upright position

Synonyms:
spill, tumble
Types:
pratfall
a fall onto your buttocks
wipeout
a spill in some sport (as a fall from a bicycle or while skiing or being capsized on a surfboard)
Type of:
slip, trip
an accidental misstep threatening (or causing) a fall

n a free and rapid descent by the force of gravity

Synonyms:
drop
Types:
free fall
the ideal falling motion of something subject only to a gravitational field
plunge
a steep and rapid fall
precipitation
the act of casting down or falling headlong from a height
Type of:
gravitation
movement downward resulting from gravitational attraction
descent
a movement downward

n a sudden decline in strength or number or importance

“the fall of the House of Hapsburg”
Synonyms:
downfall
Antonyms:
rise
a growth in strength or number or importance
Types:
anticlimax
a disappointing decline after a previous rise
Type of:
weakening
becoming weaker

n a sudden sharp decrease in some quantity

“when that became known the price of their stock went into free fall
Synonyms:
dip, drop, free fall
Types:
correction
a drop in stock market activity or stock prices following a period of increases
voltage drop
a decrease in voltage along a conductor through which current is flowing
Type of:
decrease, decrement
the amount by which something decreases

n the act of surrendering (usually under agreed conditions)

Synonyms:
capitulation, surrender
Type of:
loss
the act of losing someone or something

n the time of day immediately following sunset

“they finished before the fall of night”
Synonyms:
crepuscle, crepuscule, dusk, evenfall, gloam, gloaming, nightfall, twilight
Types:
night
a shortening of nightfall
Type of:
hour, time of day
clock time

n when a wrestler's shoulders are forced to the mat

Synonyms:
pin
Types:
takedown
(amateur wrestling) being brought to the mat from a standing position
Type of:
triumph, victory
a successful ending of a struggle or contest
2

n the season when the leaves fall from the trees

“in the fall of 1973”
Synonyms:
autumn
Type of:
season, time of year
one of the natural periods into which the year is divided by the equinoxes and solstices or atmospheric conditions
3

v yield to temptation or sin

“Adam and Eve fell
Type of:
sin, transgress, trespass
commit a sin; violate a law of God or a moral law

v lose one's chastity

“a fallen woman”

n a lapse into sin; a loss of innocence or of chastity

“a fall from virtue”
Type of:
sin, sinning
an act that is regarded by theologians as a transgression of God's will
4

v be born, used chiefly of lambs

“The lambs fell in the afternoon”
Type of:
be born
come into existence through birth

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