What does FAIL mean?

Definitions for FAIL

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word FAIL.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. fail, neglectverb

    fail to do something; leave something undone

    "She 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"

  2. fail, go wrong, miscarryverb

    be unsuccessful

    "Where do today's public schools fail?"; "The attempt to rescue the hostages failed miserably"

  3. fail, betrayverb

    disappoint, prove undependable to; abandon, forsake

    "His sense of smell failed him this time"; "His strength finally failed him"; "His children failed him in the crisis"

  4. fail, go bad, give way, die, give out, conk out, go, break, break downverb

    stop operating or functioning

    "The 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"

  5. failverb

    be unable

    "I fail to understand your motives"

  6. failverb

    judge unacceptable

    "The teacher failed six students"

  7. fail, flunk, bomb, flush itverb

    fail to get a passing grade

    "She studied hard but failed nevertheless"; "Did I fail the test?"

  8. failverb

    fall short in what is expected

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

  9. failverb

    become bankrupt or insolvent; fail financially and close

    "The toy company went bankrupt after the competition hired cheap Mexican labor"; "A number of banks failed that year"

  10. fail, run out, give outverb

    prove insufficient

    "The water supply for the town failed after a long drought"

  11. failverb

    get worse

    "Her health is declining"


  1. failnoun

    a failure, especially of a financial transaction

  2. failnoun

    a failing grade in an academic examination

  3. failverb

    To be unsuccessful.

    Throughout my life, I have always failed.

  4. failverb

    Not to achieve a particular stated goal. (Usage note: The direct object of this word is usually an infinitive.)

    The truck failed to start.

  5. failverb

    To neglect.

    The report fails to take into account all the mitigating factors.

  6. failverb

    To cease to operate correctly.

    After running five minutes, the engine failed.

  7. failverb

    To be wanting to, to be insufficient for, to disappoint, to desert.

  8. failverb

    To receive one or more non-passing grades in academic pursuits.

    I failed in English last year.

  9. failverb

    To give a student a non-passing grade in an academic endeavour.

    The professor failed me because I did not complete any of the course assignments.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Failverb

    to be wanting; to fall short; to be or become deficient in any measure or degree up to total absence; to cease to be furnished in the usual or expected manner, or to be altogether cut off from supply; to be lacking; as, streams fail; crops fail

    Etymology: [OF. faille, from failir. See Fail, v. i.]

  2. Failverb

    to be affected with want; to come short; to lack; to be deficient or unprovided; -- used with of

    Etymology: [OF. faille, from failir. See Fail, v. i.]

  3. Failverb

    to fall away; to become diminished; to decline; to decay; to sink

    Etymology: [OF. faille, from failir. See Fail, v. i.]

  4. Failverb

    to deteriorate in respect to vigor, activity, resources, etc.; to become weaker; as, a sick man fails

    Etymology: [OF. faille, from failir. See Fail, v. i.]

  5. Failverb

    to perish; to die; -- used of a person

    Etymology: [OF. faille, from failir. See Fail, v. i.]

  6. Failverb

    to be found wanting with respect to an action or a duty to be performed, a result to be secured, etc.; to miss; not to fulfill expectation

    Etymology: [OF. faille, from failir. See Fail, v. i.]

  7. Failverb

    to come short of a result or object aimed at or desired ; to be baffled or frusrated

    Etymology: [OF. faille, from failir. See Fail, v. i.]

  8. Failverb

    to err in judgment; to be mistaken

    Etymology: [OF. faille, from failir. See Fail, v. i.]

  9. Failverb

    to become unable to meet one's engagements; especially, to be unable to pay one's debts or discharge one's business obligation; to become bankrupt or insolvent

    Etymology: [OF. faille, from failir. See Fail, v. i.]

  10. Failverb

    to be wanting to ; to be insufficient for; to disappoint; to desert

    Etymology: [OF. faille, from failir. See Fail, v. i.]

  11. Failverb

    to miss of attaining; to lose

    Etymology: [OF. faille, from failir. See Fail, v. i.]

  12. Failverb

    miscarriage; failure; deficiency; fault; -- mostly superseded by failure or failing, except in the phrase without fail

    Etymology: [OF. faille, from failir. See Fail, v. i.]

  13. Failverb

    death; decease

    Etymology: [OF. faille, from failir. See Fail, v. i.]

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Fail

    fāl, n. a turf, sod.—n. Fail′-dike (Scot.), a turf-wall. [Perh. from Gael. fàl, a sod.]

  2. Fail

    fāl, v.i. to fall short or be wanting (with in): to fall away: to decay: to die: to prove deficient under trial, examination, pressure, &c.: to miss: to be disappointed or baffled: to be unable to pay one's debts.—v.t. to be wanting to: not to be sufficient for: to leave undone, omit: to disappoint or desert any one:—pr.p. fail′ing; pa.p. failed.—n. (Shak.) failure.—p.adj. Failed, decayed, worn out: bankrupt.—n. Fail′ing, a fault, weakness: a foible.—prep. in default of.—n. Fail′ure, a falling short, or cessation: omission: decay: bankruptcy.—Fail of, to come short of accomplishing any purpose; Without fail, infallibly. [O. Fr. faillir—L. fallĕre, to deceive; cf. Dut. feilen, Ger. fehlen, Ice. feila.]

Suggested Resources

  1. FAIL

    What does FAIL stand for? -- Explore the various meanings for the FAIL acronym on the Abbreviations.com website.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'FAIL' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #3075

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'FAIL' in Written Corpus Frequency: #4125

  3. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'FAIL' in Verbs Frequency: #139

Anagrams for FAIL »

  1. alif, fila

  2. Alif

  3. Fila

How to pronounce FAIL?

How to say FAIL in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of FAIL in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of FAIL in Pythagorean Numerology is: 1

Examples of FAIL in a Sentence

  1. William Galvin:

    Entities that create computer-generated portfolios but fail to do the necessary due diligence to know their customers and who specifically decline most if not all the fiduciary duty are not performing the duties of investment advisers.

  2. Finance Huo Jia:

    The threshold for orbital launches is extremely high, and 99% of companies will fail.

  3. Debasish Mridha, M.D.:

    If the future generation has a difficult life, if they engage in war or commit crime, it's not their fault, it's our fault because we fail to educate them. So responsibility resides on me, on us, to educate them in proper ways.

  4. English Proverb:

    Most people fail in life not because of luck, but because of lack of direction,dedication, and discipline. _Mehraj Mubarak

  5. Lindsey Graham:

    If we’re counting on Facebook to regulate itself, we’re going to fail, i ’m a South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, I do n’t like regulating things unless you have to.

Images & Illustrations of FAIL


Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for FAIL

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • أخفقArabic
  • не успявам, не работя, провалям се, отказвам, не сполучвамBulgarian
  • fracassarCatalan, Valencian
  • propadnout, fungovat, selhávat, selhat, nechat, přestatCzech
  • svigte, forsømme, mislykkes, dumpe, fejle, undlade, slå fejlDanish
  • missglücken, ohne Erfolg bleiben, scheitern, nicht gelingen, keinen Erfolg haben, versagenGerman
  • fracasar, zozobrar, negar, pararse, fallarSpanish
  • nurjuma, seiskuma, edutuEstonian
  • تصورکردن, شکست خوردن, موفق نشدن, خراب شدنPersian
  • rikkoa, pysähtyä, vikautua, ei, epäonnistua, vikaantua, pysäyttää, vioittaa, mennä rikkiFinnish
  • tomber en panne, faillir, recaler, négliger, échouerFrench
  • meathIrish
  • fàilligScottish Gaelic
  • gagalIndonesian
  • ignorare, omettere, mancare l'obiettivo, fallire, tralasciare, bocciare, negligere, mancareItalian
  • 矢敗するJapanese
  • жол болбоо, иш ордунан чыкпай калууKyrgyz
  • desumLatin
  • paheke, takaMāori
  • falen, mankeren, negeren, mislukken, buizenDutch
  • mislykkes, feile, svikteNorwegian
  • reprovar, pifar, deixar de, falhar, fracassarPortuguese
  • a rata, a strica, a se stricaRomanian
  • выходить из строя, терпеть неудачу, провалиться, провалить, не справитьсяRussian
  • mankera, misslyckas, falleraSwedish

Get even more translations for FAIL »


Find a translation for the FAIL definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:

Discuss these FAIL definitions with the community:



    Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


    "FAIL." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 27 Oct. 2021. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/FAIL>.

    Are we missing a good definition for FAIL? Don't keep it to yourself...

    Browse Definitions.net

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Chrome

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

    Free, no signup required:

    Add to Firefox

    Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!


    Are you a words master?

    be present at (meetings, church services, university), etc.
    • A. disturb
    • B. attend
    • C. carry
    • D. condemn

    Nearby & related entries:

    Alternative searches for FAIL: