fall Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo
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Meaning of “fall” in the English Dictionary

"fall" in British English

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uk   /fɔːl/  us   /fɑːl/ (fell, fallen)
  • fall verb (HAVE AN ACCIDENT)

A2 [I] to ​suddenly go down onto the ​ground or towards the ​ground without ​intending to or by ​accident: The path's very ​steep, so be ​careful you don't fall. He fell ​badly and ​broke his ​leg. Athletes have to ​learn how to fall without ​hurting themselves. The ​horse fell at the first ​fence. I fell down the ​stairs and ​injured my back. The ​objectappeared to have fallen from a ​greatheight. The water's ​deep here, so don't fall in! She ​slipped and fell on the ​ice. He fell into the ​river and had to be ​rescued. I fell off my ​bike and ​scraped my ​knee. He was ​leaning out of the ​window and ​almost fell out. She fell under a ​bus and was ​killedinstantly. She fell five ​metres to the ​bottom of the ​ravine. He fell to hisdeathclimbing the Matterhorn.
fall flat on your face informal
to fall and ​land with ​yourface down: Poor Kathy fell ​flat on her ​face in the ​mud.

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  • fall verb (BECOME LOWER)

B1 [I] to ​becomelower in ​size, ​amount, or ​strength: Demand for new ​cars has fallen ​due to the ​recession. The ​standard of his ​work has fallen during the ​year. Salaries in the ​publicsector are ​expected to fall by 15 ​percent this ​year. The ​temperature could fall below zero ​overnight. Average ​temperatures fell by ten ​degrees. The ​pound has fallen toits lowest-ever ​level against the ​dollar. When the ​teacherwalked in, the children's ​voices fell to a ​whisper (= they ​became very ​quiet). Share ​prices fell sharply this ​week.

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  • fall verb (COME DOWN)

A2 [I] to come down onto the ​ground or from a high ​position to a ​lowerposition: The ​snow had been falling ​steadily all ​day. It was ​October and the ​leaves had ​started to fall. She fell intobed, ​completelyexhausted. A ​bomb fell on the ​church and ​destroyed it. A ​hugemeteor fell toEarth in the ​middle of the ​desert. He ​begged for ​mercy as the ​blows fell on him (= as he was being ​hit).
fall to your knees (also fall down on your knees)
to go down on ​yourknees to show ​respect: The ​people all fell to ​theirknees and ​began to ​pray.
[I] When the ​curtain falls in the ​theatre, it comes down because the ​play or ​performance has ​ended: The ​audience was still ​laughing as the ​curtain fell.

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  • fall verb (BECOME)

B1 [I + adv/prep, L] to ​change to a ​particularcondition from a different one: He always falls asleep after ​drinkingredwine. She ​suddenly fell ill. The ​book fell open (= ​opened by ​chance) at a ​picture of Venice. The ​president has fallen ​strangely silent on the ​issue of ​guncontrol.UK Your ​rent falls due (= must be ​paid) on the first of the ​month. Silence fell on the ​group of men (= they ​becamesilent) as they ​received the ​news. She fell under the ​influence of (= ​began to be ​influenced by) an ​olderstudent.

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  • fall verb (BE DEFEATED)

C2 [I] to be ​beaten or ​defeated: The ​president fell from ​power during the ​militarycoup.UK The ​governmentfinally fell after ​losing the ​support of the ​centreparties.
C2 [I] If a ​place falls in a ​war or an ​election, an ​enemyarmy or a different ​politicalparty gets ​control of it: Rome fell to the Vandals in AD 455.UK The ​constituency fell toLabour at the last ​election, after ten ​years of ​Conservativerule.
[I] literary If ​soldiers fall while ​fighting, they are ​killed: Many ​brave men fell in the ​fight to ​save the ​city. During the ​war, he ​saw many of his ​comrades fall in ​battle.
[I] UK In ​cricket, when a ​wicket falls, the ​turn of the ​player who is ​hitting the ​ballends: Ten ​wickets fell in 22 ​overs.
  • fall verb (HAPPEN)

C2 [I] to come at a ​particulartime or ​happen in a ​particularplace: Easter falls late this ​year. My ​birthday will fall on a ​Friday this ​year. Night/Darkness had fallen by the ​time we got back to the ​camp. In the word "​table", the ​accent falls on the first ​syllable. The Treasury has still not ​decided where the ​cuts will fall.
  • fall verb (UNHAPPY)

your face/spirits fall
If ​yourface falls, you ​suddenlylookunhappy or ​disappointed, and if ​yourspirits fall, you ​suddenlyfeelunhappy or ​disappointed: His ​spirits fell when he ​saw the ​distance he still had to go. As she ​read her ​examresults, her ​face fell.


uk   /fɔːl/  us   /fɑːl/
  • fall noun (LOWER AMOUNT)

B1 [C usually singular] the ​fact of the ​size, ​amount, or ​strength of something getting ​lower: a fall in the ​price of ​petrol/the ​unemploymentrate We could ​hear the rise and fall of ​voices in the other ​room. There was a fall insupport for the ​party at the last ​election.

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  • fall noun (SEASON)

[C or U] US (UK autumn) the ​season after ​summer and before ​winter, when ​fruits and ​cropsbecomeready to ​eat and the ​leaves fall off the ​trees: I'm ​startingcollege in the fall. Next fall we'll be back in New York. a fall ​day/​morning fall ​colours/​foliage

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  • fall noun (ACCIDENT)

B2 [C usually singular] the ​act of falling down to the ​ground, usually without ​intending to or by ​accident: He had/took a ​nasty fall and ​hurt his back. the fall of the Berlin Wall (= when the Berlin Wall was ​destroyed)

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  • fall noun (MOVEMENT DOWNWARDS)

[C usually singular] an ​amount of something that ​moves down onto the ​ground or from a ​higherposition to a ​lowerposition: a ​heavy fall of ​snow
See also
falls [plural]
often used in ​placenames to ​mean a very ​wide waterfall, often made of many ​separate waterfalls: Niagara Falls
(Definition of fall from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"fall" in American English

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 us   /fɔl/ (past tense fell  /fel/ , past participle fallen  /ˈfɔ·lən/ )
  • fall verb (ACCIDENT)

[I] (of ​people and ​animals) to move ​unintentionally or unexpectedly onto or toward the ​ground from a ​higherplace: He fell and ​hurt his ​arm. Don’t fall over, ​honey! I fell down the ​stairs. She fell off the ​top of the ​ladder. Kathy ​tripped and fell (​flat) on her ​face (= fell ​facing the ​ground).
  • fall verb (MOVE DOWN)

[I] to move down toward or ​drop to a ​lowerposition: They ​expect three ​inches of ​snow to fall ​tonight. Tears ​rolled down her ​cheeks and fell into her ​lap. Plaster was falling off the ​walls.
  • fall verb (BECOME LESS)

[I] to ​become less or ​lower in ​size, ​amount, or ​strength: Stock ​prices fell ​sharply in late ​March and early ​April. Her ​bloodsugarlevels fell below ​normal.
  • fall verb (CHANGE STATE)

[L] used to show a ​change from one ​state to another: He fell ​asleepreading the ​newspaper.
  • fall verb (BE DEFEATED)

[I] to be ​defeated or ​fail: The ​city fell to the ​enemy.
[I] If ​soldiers fall, they ​die: The ​statuehonorssoldiers who fell in ​battle.
  • fall verb (HAPPEN)

[I] to ​happen at a ​particulartime: My ​birthday falls on a ​Friday this ​year. By the ​time we got ​home, ​night had fallen (= ​begun).
  • fall verb (BELONG TO)

[I always + adv/prep] to ​belong to a ​particulargroup, or to be ​part of a ​particularsubject: Archaeology falls under the ​generalsubject of ​naturalhistory.
  • fall verb (HANG DOWN)

[I always + adv/prep] (of ​hair or ​cloth) to ​hang down ​loosely: Her ​long, ​darkhair fell to her ​waist.


 us   /fɔl/
  • fall noun (SEASON)

[C/U] (also autumn) the ​season of the ​year between ​summer and ​winter, ​lasting from ​September to ​Decembernorth of the ​equator and from ​March to ​Junesouth of the ​equator, when ​fruits and ​cropsfinishgrowing and the ​leaves fall off the ​trees: [U] Fall is my ​favoritetime of ​year. [U] She ​wants to take a ​vacation before fall ​classesstart.
  • fall noun (ACCIDENT)

[C usually sing] the ​act of ​moving onto or toward the ​ground or to a ​lowerposition, often ​unintentionally or ​accidentally: She ​injured herself in a fall.
  • fall noun (DEFEAT)

[C usually sing] a ​defeat or ​loss of ​power: the fall of the ​Roman Empire
  • fall noun (DROP)

[C usually sing] to ​becomelower in ​size, ​amount, or ​strength: a fall in ​temperature
(Definition of fall from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"fall" in Business English

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uk   us   /fɔːl/ (fell, fallen)
to become ​lower in ​value, ​amount, or ​level: Houseprices began to fall rapidly. Demand for new ​cars has fallen by over 40%. Stock ​prices fell ​sharply yesterday. Public ​sectorsalaries are expected to fall ​even further as the ​recession continues to ​bite. Inflation has fallen to its ​lowestlevel in 30 ​years.
to gradually get to be in a worse ​condition or ​state: The ​factory had fallen into disuse in recent ​years.
fall due
if a ​payment falls ​due at a particular ​time, it must be ​paid at that ​time: The ​rent falls ​due on the first day of the month.


uk   us   /fɔːl/
[C, usually singular] a ​reduction in the ​amount or ​level of something: a fall in sth There are serious ​concerns about the fall in the ​value of the ​dollar. The FTSE 100 ​slumped 116 ​points on the back of a 160-point fall ​overnight on the Dow Jones. A further fall of 2% in ​propertyprices could seriously hamper ​economicrecovery. The ​corporationreported a sharp fall in ​quarterlyprofits.
[S] a ​situation in which someone or something that has been ​successfulfails: The documentary ​charts the ​rise and fall of America's third largest ​carcompany.
fall from grace
a ​situation in which someone who was popular, ​successful, etc. suddenly becomes unsuccessful, unpopular, etc.
(Definition of fall from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“fall” in Business English

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