What does befall mean?

Definitions for befall

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word befall.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. befall, bechance, betideverb

    become of; happen to

    "He promised that no harm would befall her"; "What has become of my children?"

  2. happen, befall, bechanceverb

    happen, occur, or be the case in the course of events or by chance

    "It happens that today is my birthday"; "These things befell" (Santayana)


  1. befallnoun

    Case; instance; circumstance; event; incident; accident.

  2. befallverb

    To happen.

  3. befallverb

    To happen to.

    Temptation befell me.

  4. Etymology: From befallen, from befeallan, equivalent to. Cognate with Dutch bevallen, German befallen, Swedish befalla.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To Befallverb

    Etymology: from fall. It befell, it hath befallen.

    Let me know
    The worst that may befall me in this case. William Shakespeare, Midsummer Night’s Dream.

    Other doubt possesses me, lest harm
    Befall thee, sever’d from me. John Milton, Parad. Lost, b. ix.

    This venerable person, who probably heard our Saviour’s prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, drew his congregation out of those unparalleled calamities, which befell his countrymen. Joseph Addison, on the Christian Religion.

    This disgrace has befallen them, not because they deserved it, but because the people love new faces. Joseph Addison, Freeholder.

    Bion asked an envious man, that was very sad, what harm had befallen unto him, or what good had befallen unto another man? Francis Bacon, Apophthegms.

    No man can certainly conclude God’s love or hatred to any person, from what befalls him in this world. John Tillotson.

    But since th’ affairs of men are still uncertain,
    Let’s reason with the worst that may befall. William Shakespeare, J. Cæsar.

    I have reveal’d
    This discord which befell, and was in heav’n
    Among th’ angelick pow’rs. John Milton, Parad. Lost, b. vi.

    Some great mischief hath befall’n
    To that meek man. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. xi.

    Do me the favour to dilate at full,
    What hath befall’n of them, and thee, till now. William Shakespeare, Comedy of Errours.


  1. befall

    Befall is a verb that refers to an event, especially something bad or unpleasant, happening to someone or something. It generally means to occur or happen by chance or fate.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Befallverb

    to happen to

  2. Befallverb

    to come to pass; to happen

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Befall

    be-fawl′, v.t. to fall or happen to: to occur to.—v.i. to happen or come to pass: (Spens.) to fall in one's way:—pr.p. befall′ing; pa.t. befell′; pa.p. befall′en. [A.S. befeallan. See Fall.]

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of befall in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of befall in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of befall in a Sentence

  1. Christopher Skaife:

    We are very, very pleased to say here at the Tower of London that we have now got four magnificent chicks, the first time they have been born at the Tower of London for over 30 years, we decided that it would be a really good idea to see if we could actually breed ravens ourselves at the Tower of London to secure our future, after all legend tells us that should the ravens leave the Tower of London it will crumble into dust and a great harm befall the kingdom.

  2. The President:

    The murder of George Floyd at the hands of police was a horrible tragedy -- one of countless tragedies to befall people of color across the United States. The vast majority of protesters today did so peacefully, toward a common goal of promoting justice and equality, i am deeply thankful for their voices and their positive, forceful message. I also want to express my gratitude to all the police officers and other first responders working to protect the people of Boston from the individuals whose violent actions, looting and property destruction was criminal and cowardly -- and distracted from the powerful statement made today by thousands of Massachusetts residents.

  3. Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson:

    I hold it true, whatever befall; I feel it, when I sorrow most; 'Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.

  4. Justice Louis Brandeis:

    No danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is an opportunity for full discussion. Only an emergency can justify repression.

  5. Marcus Aelius Aurelius:

    Whatever may befall thee, it was preordained for thee from everlasting.

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Translations for befall

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"befall." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 28 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/befall>.

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