(noun, adjective, verb)


1. (slang, US) That is a failure.


1. (uncountable) (slang) Poor quality; substandard workmanship.

- The project was full of fail.

2. (slang) A failure (condition of being unsuccessful)

3. (slang, US) A failure (something incapable of success)

4. A failure, especially of a financial transaction (a termination of an action).

5. A failing grade in an academic examination.

6. A piece of turf cut from grassland.


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

Similar word(s): neglect

Definition categories: social

2. be unsuccessful

- Where do today's public schools fail?

- The attempt to rescue the hostages failed miserably

Similar word(s): miscarry

Definition categories: social

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

Similar word(s): betray

Definition categories: emotion, disappoint

4. stop operating or functioning

- The engine failed on the way to town

Similar word(s): break, die, go

Definition categories: change

5. be unable

- I fail to understand your motives

Definition categories: social

6. judge unacceptable

- The teacher failed six students

Definition categories: social, evaluate, judge

7. fail to get a passing grade

- She studied hard but failed nevertheless

- Did I fail the test?

Similar word(s): bomb, flunk

Definition categories: social

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

Definition categories: social

9. become bankrupt or insolvent; fail financially and close

- A number of banks failed that year

Definition categories: possession

10. prove insufficient

- The water supply for the town failed after a long drought

Definition categories: change

11. get worse

Definition categories: change, decline, worsen

Sentences with fail as a verb:

- Throughout my life, I have always failed.

- The truck failed to start.

- The report fails to take into account all the mitigating factors.

- After running five minutes, the engine failed.

- I failed in English last year.

- The professor failed me because I did not complete any of the course assignments.

- The crops failed last year.

- A sick man fails.