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English definition of “fail”

fail

verb  /feɪl/ us  

fail verb (NOT SUCCEED)

[I] to not be able to do what you are trying to achieve or are expected to do: [+ to infinitive] She applied to Harvard University but failed to get accepted. [I] If you fail to see/understand what something is, you do not agree with someone’s description of a situation: [+ to infinitive] I fail to see what the problem is (= I don’t think there is a problem).

fail verb (NOT PASS)

[I/T] to be unsuccessful, or to judge that someone has been unsuccessful in a test or examination: [I/T] A lot of people fail (their driving test) the first time. [T] She said she would fail any student who misses two exams.

fail verb (NOT DO)

[I/T] to not do something that should be done: [+ to infinitive] He promised to help, but failed to send a check. [+ to infinitive] She never fails to meet a deadline. [I/T] To fail is also to not help someone when expected to: [T] He failed her when she most needed him.

fail verb (STOP)

[I] to become weaker or stop working completely: The bus driver said the brakes failed. [I] If a business fails, it is unable to continue because of money problems.
failing
adjective [not gradable]  /ˈfeɪ·lɪŋ/ us  
He is in failing health and seldom goes outside any more.
(Definition of fail from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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