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verb fail pronunciation in British English /feɪl/ 
Word Forms
present tense
present participlefailing
past tensefailed
past participlefailed
  1. 1
    [intransitive] to be unsuccessful when you try to do something

    Most people who try to lose weight fail dismally.

    fail to do something:

    They have failed to come up with any practical solutions.

    fail in:

    He failed in his attempt to get compensation.

    1. a.
      used about actions or plans

      Attempts to revive him failed.

      It looks as if the negotiations are going to fail.

  2. 2
    [intransitive] to not do something that people expect you to do

    He failed to come home at the usual time.

    fail in your duty/obligation:

    The government is failing in its duty to protect people.

    1. a.
      [transitive] if someone fails you, they do not do what they promised or what you trusted them to do

      He felt he had failed his team-mates.

      The political system has failed us.

  3. 3
    [intransitive/transitive] to be unsuccessful in achieving a satisfactory level or standard

    The new plane failed a safety test.

    She failed all her exams.

    fail on:

    I failed on the written part of my driving test.

  4. 5
    [transitive] mainly literary if a quality or ability fails you, you suddenly lose it

    At the last minute, her courage failed her.



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