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Definition of 'fail'


  1. 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"
       Synonyms: neglect
  2. be unsuccessful; "Where do today's public schools fail?"; "The attempt to rescue the hostages failed miserably"
       Synonyms: go wrong miscarry
       Antonyms: succeed win come through bring home the bacon deliver the goods
  3. 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"
       Synonyms: betray
  4. 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"
       Synonyms: go bad give way die give out conk out go break break down
  5. be unable; "I fail to understand your motives"
       Antonyms: pull off negociate bring off carry off manage
  6. judge unacceptable; "The teacher failed six students"
       Antonyms: pass
  7. fail to get a passing grade; "She studied hard but failed nevertheless"; "Did I fail the test?"
       Synonyms: flunk bomb flush it
       Antonyms: pass make it
  8. 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. 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. prove insufficient; "The water supply for the town failed after a long drought"
       Synonyms: run out give out
  11. get worse; "Her health is declining"

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