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English definition of “fail”


verb     /feɪl/
[I] to not succeeed in something you are trying to do: fail to do sth They failed to reach an agreement with the board members . fail in sth Last year the company failed in its bid to renew their contract . All their efforts seem to have failed. Some employees will not take risks because they're scared of failing.
[I] if a business fails, it is unsuccessful and cannot continue to operate : Over 3000 small businesses failed in the first quarter of the year . Is it better for the economy to let unsuccessful companies fail or to bail them out?
[I or T] to not pass an exam or test , or not reach a necessary standard : About half of all candidates taking the more advanced exams fail. The company repeatedly failed inspections by Health and Safety officials .
[I] if a machine or system fails, it stops working : If the system fails for any reason , the emergency back-up will kick in.
[I] formal to not do something that you should do: fail to do sth What can be done about clients who fail to pay their debts ? → See also too big to fail
(Definition of fail verb from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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