English dictionary



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English verb: fail

1. fail (social) fail to do something; leave something undone


SamplesShe failed to notice that her child was no longer in his crib.
The secretary failed to call the customer and the company lost the account.


Synonymsneglect


Pattern of useSomebody ----s to INFINITIVE


Narrower (hyponym)choke, default, default on, lose track, miss, muff, strike out

2. fail (social) be unsuccessful


SamplesWhere do today's public schools fail?.
The attempt to rescue the hostages failed miserably.


Synonymsgo wrong, miscarry


Pattern of useSomething ----s.
Somebody ----s.
Something is ----ing PP.
Somebody ----s PP


Narrower (hyponym)ball up, blow, bobble, bodge, bollix, bollix up, bollocks, bollocks up, botch, botch up, bumble, bungle, fall, fall flat, fall through, flop, flub, fluff, foul up, founder, fuck up, fumble, louse up, mess up, mishandle, miss, muck up, muff, overreach, screw up, shipwreck, spoil, strike out, take it on the chin


Antonymsbring home the bacon, deliver the goods, succeed, come through, win

3. fail (emotion) disappoint, prove undependable to; abandon, forsake


SamplesHis sense of smell failed him this time.
His strength finally failed him.
His children failed him in the crisis.


Synonymsbetray


Pattern of useSomebody ----s somebody.
Something ----s somebody


Broader (hypernym)disappoint, let down

4. fail (change) stop operating or functioning


SamplesThe engine finally went.
The car died on the road.
The bus we travelled in broke down on the way to town.
The coffee maker broke.
The engine failed on the way to town.
Her eyesight went after the accident.


ExamplesThese cars won't fail


Synonymsbreak, break down, conk out, die, give out, give way, go, go bad


Pattern of useSomething ----s


Broader (hypernym)change


Narrower (hyponym)blow, blow out, burn out, crash, go down, malfunction, misfire, misfunction


Verb groupbreak, 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

5. fail (social) be unable


SamplesI fail to understand your motives.


Pattern of useSomebody ----s to INFINITIVE


Antonymsbring off, carry off, manage, negociate, pull off

6. fail (social) judge unacceptable


SamplesThe teacher failed six students.


Pattern of useSomebody ----s somebody


Broader (hypernym)evaluate, judge, pass judgment


Verb groupbomb, fail, flunk, flush it


Antonymspass

7. fail (social) fail to get a passing grade


SamplesShe studied hard but failed nevertheless.
Did I fail the test?.


Synonymsbomb, flunk, flush it


Pattern of useSomebody ----s.
Somebody ----s something


Verb groupfail, fail


Antonymsmake it, pass

8. fail (social) fall short in what is expected


SamplesShe failed in her obligations as a good daughter-in-law.
We must not fail his obligation to the victims of the Holocaust.


Pattern of useSomebody ----s something.
Somebody ----s PP


Verb groupbomb, fail, flunk, flush it

9. fail (possession) become bankrupt or insolvent; fail financially and close


SamplesThe toy company went bankrupt after the competition hired cheap Mexican labor.
A number of banks failed that year.


Pattern of useSomething ----s.
Somebody ----s

10. fail (change) prove insufficient


SamplesThe water supply for the town failed after a long drought.


Synonymsgive out, run out


Pattern of useSomething ----s

11. fail (change) get worse


SamplesHer health is declining.


Pattern of useSomething ----s


Broader (hypernym)decline, worsen









Based on WordNet 3.0 copyright © Princeton University.
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