Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “fail”

fail

verb (NOT DO)    /feɪl/
B2 [I] to not do something that you should do: [+ to infinitive] He failed to arrive on time. The club had been promised a grant from the council, but the money failed to (= did not) materialize. You couldn't fail to be (= it is impossible that you would not be) affected by the film. I'd be failing in my duty if I didn't tell you about the risks involved in the project.Failing and doing badly fail to see/understand C2 used when you do not accept something: I fail to see why you can't work on a Saturday.Unaware
(Definition of fail verb (NOT DO) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of fail

Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Unaware, but you might be interested in these topics from the Knowing and understanding topic area:

Definitions of “fail” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

closeness

the quality of knowing someone very well, liking them a lot, and wanting to spend a lot of time together

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More