Other forms: fell; fallen; falling; falls

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."

Definitions of fall
  1. verb
    descend in free fall under the influence of gravity
    “The branch fell from the tree”
    “The unfortunate hiker fell into a crevasse”
    come down, precipitate
    fall from clouds
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    type of:
    go, locomote, move, travel
    change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically
  2. verb
    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
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    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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    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
    fall vertically, sharply, or headlong
    sink, subside
    descend into or as if into some soft substance or place
    fall or come down violently
    fall suddenly and abruptly
    topple, tumble
    fall down, as if collapsing
    fall vertically
    drop with the sound of something falling into water
    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
    fall in drops
    cascade, cascade down
    rush down in big quantities, like a cascade
    make a power dive
    plunge nose first; drop with the nose or front first, of aircraft
    submerge or plunge suddenly
    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
    sink below the surface
    submerge, submerse
    sink below the surface; go under or as if under water
    go down
    descend swiftly, as if on prey
    type of:
    go, locomote, move, travel
    change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically
  3. verb
    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
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    type of:
    change posture
    undergo a change in bodily posture
  4. verb
    fall from clouds
    “rain, snow and sleet were falling
    synonyms: come down, precipitate
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    rain, rain down
    precipitate as rain
    come down like raindrops
    fall as snow
    precipitate as small ice particles
    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
  5. verb
    slope downward
    “The hills around here fall towards the ocean”
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    type of:
    incline, pitch, slope
    be at an angle
  6. verb
    drop oneself to a lower or less erect position
    “She fell back in her chair”
    “He fell to his knees”
    fall down
    lose an upright position suddenly
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    type of:
    change posture
    undergo a change in bodily posture
  7. verb
    fall or flow in a certain way
    synonyms: flow, hang
  8. verb
    decrease in size, extent, or range
    “The cabin pressure fell dramatically”
    “his voice fell to a whisper”
    synonyms: decrease, diminish, lessen
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    become bigger or greater in amount
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    diminish or discontinue abruptly
    shrink, shrivel
    decrease in size, range, or extent
    diminish gradually
    drop off
    fall or diminish
    fly, vanish, vaporize
    decrease rapidly and disappear
    fall sharply
    ease off, ease up, flag, slacken off
    become less intense
    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
    become deflated or flaccid, as by losing air
    dwindle, dwindle away, dwindle down
    become smaller or lose substance
    diminish or abate
    diminish in size, scope, or intensity
    depreciate, devaluate, devalue, undervalue
    lose in value
    become short or shorter
    thin out
    become sparser
    decline, go down, wane
    grow smaller
    decrease in phase
    become smaller
    decelerate, retard, slow, slow down, slow up
    lose velocity; move more slowly
    grow quieter
    undergo atrophy
    become weaker, in strength, value, or magnitude
    disappear, evaporate, melt
    become less intense and fade away gradually
    die down
    become progressively weaker
    lose significance, effectiveness, or value
    fade, melt
    become less clearly visible or distinguishable; disappear gradually or seemingly
    lessen, subside
    wear off or die down
    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
    make less lively or vigorous
    lose strength or effectiveness; become or appear boring, insipid, or tiresome (to)
    loose, loosen, relax
    become loose or looser or less tight
    become looser or slack
    go down momentarily
    wear on
    pass slowly (of time)
    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
    lose strength
    type of:
    change magnitude
    change in size or magnitude
  9. verb
    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”
    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
    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
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    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
  10. verb
    come under, be classified or included
    fall into a category”
    synonyms: come
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    type of:
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
  11. verb
    suffer defeat, failure, or ruin
    “We must stand or fall
    fall by the wayside”
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    type of:
    fail, go wrong, miscarry
    be unsuccessful
  12. verb
    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”
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    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
  13. verb
    be captured
    “The cities fell to the enemy”
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    type of:
    cease opposition; stop fighting
  14. verb
    lose office or power
    “The government fell overnight”
    “The Qing Dynasty fell with Sun Yat-sen”
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    type of:
    leave office, quit, resign, step down
    give up or retire from a position
  15. verb
    move in a specified direction
    “The line of men fall forward”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    go, locomote, move, travel
    change location; move, travel, or proceed, also metaphorically
  16. verb
    touch or seem as if touching visually or audibly
    “Light fell on her face”
    synonyms: shine, strike
  17. verb
    occur at a specified time or place
    “Christmas falls on a Monday this year”
    “The accent falls on the first syllable”
  18. verb
    be due
    “payments fall on the 1st of the month”
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    type of:
    have the quality of being; (copula, used with an adjective or a predicate noun)
  19. verb
    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”
    fall to somebody by assignment or lot
  20. verb
    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
    come into the possession of
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    type of:
    devolve, pass, return
    be inherited by
  21. verb
    be inherited by
    “The estate fell to my sister”
    synonyms: devolve, pass, return
    come into the possession of
    see moresee less
    fall to somebody by assignment or lot
    type of:
    change hands, change owners
    be transferred to another owner
  22. verb
    to be given by right or inheritance
    “The estate fell to the oldest daughter”
  23. verb
    come into the possession of
    synonyms: accrue
    devolve, pass, return
    be inherited by
    fall to somebody by assignment or lot
    see moresee less
    type of:
    change hands, change owners
    be transferred to another owner
  24. verb
    assume a disappointed or sad expression
    “Her face fell when she heard that she would be laid off”
    “his crest fell
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    type of:
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
  25. verb
    be cast down
    “his eyes fell
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    type of:
    undergo a change; become different in essence; losing one's or its original nature
  26. verb
    go as if by falling
    “Grief fell from our hearts”
    descend, settle
    come as if by falling
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    type of:
    disappear, go away, vanish
    get lost, as without warning or explanation
  27. verb
    come as if by falling
    “Night fell
    “Silence fell
    synonyms: descend, settle
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    type of:
    come to pass; arrive, as in due course
  28. verb
    come out; issue
    “silly phrases fell from her mouth”
  29. verb
    begin vigorously
    “The prisoners fell to work right away”
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    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
  30. noun
    a movement downward
    “the rise and fall of the tides”
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    ascension, ascent, rise, rising
    a movement upward
    type of:
    change of location, travel
    a movement through space that changes the location of something
  31. noun
    a downward slope or bend
    synonyms: declension, declination, decline, declivity, descent, downslope
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    acclivity, ascent, climb, raise, rise, upgrade
    an upward slope or grade (as in a road)
    the downward slope of a hill
    a steep place (as on a hill)
    type of:
    incline, side, slope
    an elevated geological formation
  32. noun
    a sudden drop from an upright position
    synonyms: spill, tumble
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    a fall onto your buttocks
    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
  33. noun
    a free and rapid descent by the force of gravity
    synonyms: drop
    see moresee less
    free fall
    the ideal falling motion of something subject only to a gravitational field
    a steep and rapid fall
    the act of casting down or falling headlong from a height
    type of:
    movement downward resulting from gravitational attraction
    a movement downward
  34. noun
    a sudden decline in strength or number or importance
    “the fall of the House of Hapsburg”
    synonyms: downfall
    see moresee less
    a growth in strength or number or importance
    a disappointing decline after a previous rise
    type of:
    becoming weaker
  35. noun
    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
    see moresee less
    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
  36. noun
    the act of surrendering (usually under agreed conditions)
    synonyms: capitulation, surrender
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    type of:
    the act of losing someone or something
  37. noun
    the time of day immediately following sunset
    “they finished before the fall of night”
    synonyms: crepuscle, crepuscule, dusk, evenfall, gloam, gloaming, nightfall, twilight
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    a shortening of nightfall
    type of:
    hour, time of day
    clock time
  38. noun
    when a wrestler's shoulders are forced to the mat
    synonyms: pin
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    (amateur wrestling) being brought to the mat from a standing position
    type of:
    triumph, victory
    a successful ending of a struggle or contest
  39. noun
    the season when the leaves fall from the trees
    “in the fall of 1973”
    synonyms: autumn
    see moresee less
    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
  40. verb
    yield to temptation or sin
    “Adam and Eve fell
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    type of:
    sin, transgress, trespass
    commit a sin; violate a law of God or a moral law
  41. verb
    lose one's chastity
  42. noun
    a lapse into sin; a loss of innocence or of chastity
    “a fall from virtue”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    sin, sinning, trespass
    an act that is regarded by theologians as a transgression of God's will
  43. verb
    be born, used chiefly of lambs
    “The lambs fell in the afternoon”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    be born
    come into existence through birth




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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘fall'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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