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fall - definition and synonyms

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verb [intransitive]     fall pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlefalling
past tensefell
past participlefallen
  1. 1
    to move quickly downwards 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.

    fall to your death:

    A climber fell to his death today.

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

      Snow began to quietly fall.

      Bombs fell on the city throughout the night.

    2. b.



      fall down

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

      I slipped and almost fell down.

      fall to the ground/floor:

      He collapsed and fell to the ground.

    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 by:

    Industrial production has fallen by 10%.

  3. 3
    to belong to a particular group or area of activity
    fall within/into:

    Those items fall into the category of luxury goods.

    fall outside:

    This question falls outside my area of expertise.

  4. 4
    to change into another state or condition
    fall asleep/ill:

    Shortly before Christmas she fell ill.

    fall into:

    I climbed into bed and fell into a deep sleep.

    fall into decay/disrepair/ruin/disuse:

    The building gradually fell into decay.

  5. 5
    to happen on a particular day or date

    Christmas falls on a Saturday this year.

  6. 6
    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.

  7. 7
    if a place falls in a war, a different army takes control of it

    The city is expected to fall within days.

  8. 8
    literary if people fall in a war, they are killed
  9. 9
    literary to hang down
    fall over/onto/to:

    Her long black hair fell over her shoulders.

  10. 10
    to slope downwards

    Here the land rises and falls in gentle hills.

  11. 11
    if someone’s voice falls, it becomes quieter

    His voice fell to a whisper.

  12. 12
    mainly literary if something such as a shadow or light falls on a surface, it goes over or onto the surface
  13. 13
    if your eyes fall on someone or something, you notice them
  14. 14
    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.

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to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

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Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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