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fall - definition and synonyms

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verb [intransitive]     fall pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlefalling
past tensefell
past participlefallen
  1. 1
    to move quickly downward from a higher position, usually by accident
    fall off/through/out of etc.:

    Ann’s just fallen downstairs and hurt her back.

    I keep falling off my bike.

    It’s not unusual for small children to fall out of bed.

    fall to your death:

    A climber fell to his death today.

    1. a.
      to come down toward or onto the ground from the sky

      Snow began to fall.

      Bombs fell on the city throughout the night.

      Nobody knows what caused the airplane to fall out of the sky.

    2. b.



      fall down

      to move quickly down onto the ground from an upright or standing position

      I slipped and almost fell down.

      He fell heavily on his arm and broke it.

      fall to the ground/floor:

      He collapsed and fell to the ground.

      fall to/on your knees:

      Marta fell to her knees and began to pray.

    3. c.
      to let yourself drop onto a bed, chair, etc. because you are tired
      fall into/onto:

      After work I just want to fall into bed and sleep.

  2. 2
    to become lower in level, amount, or value

    The temperature has been falling steadily all day.

    fall to/from:

    Inflation in August fell to 3.9%.

    fall by:

    Industrial production has fallen by 10%.

    fall below:

    If your grades fall below a certain level, you have to go to summer school.

  3. 3
    to change into another state or condition
    fall asleep/sick:

    Shortly before Christmas she fell sick.

    fall into:

    I climbed into bed and fell into a deep sleep.

    fall into decay/disrepair/ruin/disuse:

    The building gradually fell into decay.

  4. 4
    to lose a position of power

    Divisions within the ruling party caused the government to fall.

    fall from power:

    The General fell from power in 1955.

  5. 5
    if a place falls in a war, a different army takes control of it

    The city is expected to fall within days.

  6. 6
    literary if people fall in a war, they are killed
  7. 7
    literary to hang down
    fall over/onto/to:

    Her long black hair fell over her shoulders.

    The coat falls to just above the ankles.

  8. 8
    to belong to a particular group or area of activity
    fall outside:

    This question falls outside my area of expertise.

    fall within/into:

    Those items fall into the category of luxury goods.

  9. 9
    to happen on a particular day or date

    Christmas falls on a Saturday this year.

  10. 10
    mainly literary if something such as a shadow or light falls on a surface, it goes over or onto the surface
    fall on/over:

    His shadow fell over the book I was reading.

  11. 11
    if the emphasis falls on a particular part of a word, you emphasize that part when you say or sing it

    In English, the stress in “Paris” falls on the first syllable.

  12. 13
    if someone’s voice falls, it becomes quieter

    His voice fell to a whisper.

  13. 14
    if your eyes fall on someone or something, you notice them
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