See also: Fall, fäll, and fæll

English edit

 
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Etymology 1 edit

Verb from Middle English fallen, from Old English feallan (to fall, fail, decay, die, attack), from Proto-West Germanic *fallan (to fall), from Proto-Germanic *fallaną (to fall).

Cognate with West Frisian falle (to fall), Low German fallen (to fall), Dutch vallen (to fall), German fallen (to fall), Danish falde (to fall), Norwegian Bokmål falle (to fall), Norwegian Nynorsk falla (to fall), Icelandic falla (to fall), Albanian fal (forgive, pray, salute, greet), Lithuanian pùlti (to attack, rush).

Noun from Middle English fal, fall, falle, from Old English feall, ġefeall (a falling, fall) and Old English fealle (trap, snare), from Proto-Germanic *fallą, *fallaz (a fall, trap). Cognate with Dutch val, German Fall (fall) and German Falle (trap, snare), Danish fald, Swedish fall, Icelandic fall.

Sense of "autumn" is attested by the 1660s in England as a shortening of fall of the leaf (1540s), from the falling of leaves during this season. Along with autumn, it mostly replaced the older name harvest as that name began to be associated strictly with the act of harvesting. Compare spring, which began as a shortening of “spring of the leaf”.

Pronunciation edit

Verb edit

fall (third-person singular simple present falls, present participle falling, simple past fell, past participle fallen)

 
A sign warning about the danger of falling rocks.
  1. (heading, intransitive) To be moved downwards.
    1. To move to a lower position under the effect of gravity.
      Thrown from a cliff, the stone fell 100 feet before hitting the ground.
    2. To come down, to drop or descend.
      The rain fell at dawn.
    3. To come as if by dropping down.
      • 1898, William Le Queux, Whoso Findeth a Wife, page 256:
        Once or twice a noise fell upon his quick ear, and we halted, he standing revolver in hand in an attitude of defense. Each time, however, we ascertained that we had no occasion for alarm, the noise being made by some animal or bird  ...
      • 1904, Bram Stoker, The Jewel of Seven Stars, page 248:
        And then a sudden calm fell on us like a cloud of fear. There! on the table, lay the Jewel of Seven Stars, shining and sparkling with lurid light, as though each of the seven points of each of the seven stars gleamed through blood!
      • 1971, Henry Raup Wagner, Spanish Explorations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca:
        Shortly afterwards a breeze came up from the N [] dark clouds closing in over everything. At 3 in the afternoon the breeze came up from the S with a thick drizzle. Thus night fell, and thus we passed the rest of it.
      • 1981, Dan Kirby, Schreiber's Choice, Ace Books, →ISBN:
        The horse wrangler, a tall, bronzed-face man, waved to the wagon driver. The driver laughed. [] The canvas cover rolled up suddenly and a terrible noise fell over the desert.
    4. To come to the ground deliberately, to prostrate oneself.
      He fell to the floor and begged for mercy.
    5. To be brought to the ground.
  2. (transitive) To move downwards.
    1. (obsolete) To let fall; to drop.
    2. (obsolete) To sink; to depress.
      to fall the voice
    3. (UK, US, dialect, archaic) To fell; to cut down.
      to fall a tree
  3. (intransitive) To change, often negatively.
    1. (copulative, in idiomatic expressions) To become.
      She has fallen ill.
      The children fell asleep in the back of the car.
      When did you first fall in love?
      fall silent, fall sick, fall pregnant, fall victim to something
      • 1855 December – 1857 June, Charles Dickens, chapter 1, in Little Dorrit, London: Bradbury and Evans, [], published 1857, →OCLC, book the first (Poverty), page 27:
        At length they stood at the corner from which they had begun, and it had fallen quite dark, and they were no wiser.
      • 1971, Henry Raup Wagner, Spanish Explorations in the Strait of Juan de Fuca:
        Shortly afterwards a breeze came up from the N and then it fell calm, []
    2. (intransitive) To collapse; to be overthrown or defeated.
      Rome fell to the Goths in 410 AD.
    3. (intransitive, formal, euphemistic) To die, especially in battle or by disease.
      This is a monument to all those who fell in the First World War.
    4. (intransitive) To become lower (in quantity, pitch, etc.).
      The candidate's poll ratings fell abruptly after the banking scandal.
      • 1612, John Davies, Discoverie of the True Causes why Ireland was never entirely subdued:
        The greatness of these Irish lords suddenly fell and vanished.
      • 1835, Sir John Ross, Sir James Clark Ross, Narrative of a Second Voyage in Search of a North-west Passage …, Vol.1, pages 284–5:
        Towards the following morning, the thermometer fell to 5°; and at daylight, there was not an atom of water to be seen in any direction.
      • 2013 July 20, “Old soldiers?”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8845:
        Whether modern, industrial man is less or more warlike than his hunter-gatherer ancestors is impossible to determine. [] One thing that is true, though, is that murder rates have fallen over the centuries, as policing has spread and the routine carrying of weapons has diminished. Modern society may not have done anything about war. But peace is a lot more peaceful.
  4. To occur (on a certain day of the week, date, or similar); to happen.
    Thanksgiving always falls on a Thursday.  Last year, Commencement fell on June 3.
    • 1978, Dwight David Eisenhower, Mamie Doud Eisenhower, Letters to Mamie, Doubleday Books:
      (Thus D-day fell on June 6 rather than the planned June 5.)
  5. (intransitive) To be allotted to; to arrive through chance, fate, or inheritance.
    And so it falls to me to make this important decision.  The estate fell to his brother; the kingdom fell into the hands of his rivals.
  6. (transitive, obsolete) To diminish; to lessen or lower.
    • 1691, [John Locke], Some Considerations of the Consequences of the Lowering of Interest, and Raising the Value of Money. [], London: [] Awnsham and John Churchill, [], published 1692, →OCLC:
      Upon lessening interest to four per cent, you fall the price of your native commodities.
  7. (transitive, obsolete) To bring forth.
    to fall lambs
  8. (intransitive, obsolete) To issue forth into life; to be brought forth; said of the young of certain animals.
    • 1672, The Office of the Good House-wife, page 27:
      As for Calves newly fallen, you must leave them with good Litter of fresh Straw until such qime as the Cows have licked and cleansed them,
    • 1805, John Lawrence, A general treatise on cattle, the ox, the sheep, and the swine, etc, page 100:
      My intended remarks are on the cords , and wiping dry the newly fallen calf
    • 1869, William Youatt, Sheep: Their Breeds, Management, and Diseases, page 382:
      another writer, adopting a similar opinion, affirms that it results from the lambs not being docked at a sufficiently early period; for "sometimes the ewe, in the ardour of her maternal affection, chews away the tail from her newly-fallen lamb, and none of these are afterwards affectd by the sturdy;
    • 1892, United States. Bureau of Animal Industry, Special Report on the History and Present Condition of the Sheep Industry of the United States, page 422:
      The newly fallen lambs are a peculiar sight, as they invariably come spotted or black ; but while the head and legs retain their inky black color, the wool grows out white as with the other Down breeds.
  9. (intransitive) To descend in character or reputation; to become degraded; to sink into vice, error, or sin.
  10. (intransitive) To become ensnared or entrapped; to be worse off than before.
    to fall into error;  to fall into difficulties
  11. (intransitive) To assume a look of shame or disappointment; to become or appear dejected; said of the face.
  12. (intransitive) To happen; to come to pass; to chance or light (upon).
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Ruth 3:18:
      Sit still, my daughter, until thou know how the matter will fall.
    • c. 1596–1598 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene ii]:
      [] An the worst fall that ever fell, I hope I shall make shift to go without him.
    • 1701, [Jonathan Swift], “Chapter I”, in A Discourse of the Contests and Dissensions between the Nobles and the Commons in Athens and Rome, with the Consequences They Had upon Both Those States, London: [] John Nutt [], →OCLC, page 9:
      [] Polybius tells us, the beſt Government is that which conſiſts of three Forms, Regno, Optimatium, & Populi imperio. Which may be fairly Tranſlated, the Kings, Lords and Commons. [] the Romans fell upon this Model purely by chance, (which I take to have been Nature and common Reaſon) but the Spartans by Thought and Deſign.
    • 1879, Herbert Spencer, Principles of Sociology Volume II – Part IV: Ceremonial Institutions
      Primitive men [] do not make laws, they fall into customs.
  13. (intransitive) To begin with haste, ardour, or vehemence; to rush or hurry.
    After arguing, they fell to blows.
  14. (intransitive) To be dropped or uttered carelessly.
    An unguarded expression fell from his lips.
  15. (intransitive, of a fabric) To hang down (under the influence of gravity).
    An Empire-style dress has a high waistline – directly under the bust – from which the dress falls all the way to a hem as low as the floor.
Quotations edit
Synonyms edit
Antonyms edit
Coordinate terms edit
Derived terms edit
Translations edit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Noun edit

fall (countable and uncountable, plural falls)

 
Fall (season) in the United States
  1. The act of moving to a lower position under the effect of gravity.
  2. A reduction in quantity, pitch, etc.
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter I, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC:
      “I'm through with all pawn-games,” I laughed. “Come, let us have a game of lansquenet. Either I will take a farewell fall out of you or you will have your sevenfold revenge”.
  3. (chiefly Canada, US, archaic in Britain) The time of the year when the leaves typically fall from the trees; autumn; the season of the year between the autumnal equinox and the winter solstice. [from 16th c.]
    • 1816, John Pickering, A Vocabulary, or Collection of Words Which Have Been Supposed to Be Peculiar to the United States of America:
      A friend has pointed out to me the following remark on this word: "In North America the season in which this [the fall of the leaf] takes place, derives its name from that circumstance, and instead of autumn is universally called the fall." [brackets in original]
  4. A loss of greatness or status.
    the fall of Rome
  5. That which falls or cascades.
    • 2010, Winter Pennington, Witch Wolf:
      A fall of hair tumbled down one side of her body like a veil.
  6. (sports) A crucial event or circumstance.
    1. (cricket, of a wicket) The action of a batsman being out.
    2. (curling) A defect in the ice which causes stones thrown into an area to drift in a given direction.
    3. (wrestling) An instance of a wrestler being pinned to the mat.
  7. A hairpiece for women consisting of long strands of hair on a woven backing, intended primarily to cover hair loss.
    • 2004, Zoe Diana Draelos, Hair Care: An Illustrated Dermatologic Handbook, →ISBN, page 202:
      Female patients with localized hair loss on the top of scalp could select a fall or a demiwig to camouflage crown and anterior scalp loss.
  8. (informal, US) Blame or punishment for a failure or misdeed.
    He set up his rival to take the fall.
  9. (nautical) The part of the rope of a tackle to which the power is applied in hoisting (usu. plural).
    • 1919, Joseph Conrad, Typhoon:
      "[...] with one overhauled fall flying and an iron-bound block capering in the air."
    Have the goodness to secure the falls of the mizzen halyards.
  10. An old Scots unit of measure equal to six ells.
  11. A short, flexible piece of leather forming part of a bullwhip, placed between the thong and the cracker.
    • 1945, Tom Ronan, Strangers on the Ophir, Sydney: Angus and Robertson, page 113:
      Brooks fitted a new fall to his whip.
  12. The lid, on a piano, that covers the keyboard.
Usage notes edit

The phrase have a fall, as opposed to fall over or fall down, is typically reserved for older people for whom a fall is more likely to be a medical emergency. This phrase can be however considered patronising by those it is applied to.[1][2]

Synonyms edit
Antonyms edit
Derived terms edit
Translations edit
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also edit

Seasons in English · seasons (layout · text) · category
spring summer autumn, fall winter

Etymology 2 edit

Perhaps from the north-eastern Scottish pronunciation of whale.

Interjection edit

fall

  1. (nautical) The cry given when a whale is sighted, or harpooned.

Noun edit

fall (plural falls)

  1. (nautical) The chasing of a hunted whale.
Derived terms edit

References edit

  1. ^ Williams, Zoe (14 June 2022), “The young fall over, older people ‘have a fall’ – and my stepmother is none too happy about it”, in The Guardian[1]
  2. ^ Harayada, Janice (12 November 2023), “Are We Talking About Falls The Wrong Way?”, in Crow's Feet[2]

Albanian edit

Etymology edit

From Turkish fal, from Arabicفَأْل(faʔl, omen).[1]

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

fall m (plural falle, definite falli, definite plural fallet)

  1. fortune-telling

Declension edit

Derived terms edit

References edit

  1. ^ Topalli, K. (2017), “fall”, in Fjalor Etimologjik i Gjuhës Shqipe, Durrës, Albania: Jozef, page 464-465

Breton edit

Adjective edit

fall

  1. bad

Catalan edit

Etymology edit

Deverbal from fallir.

Noun edit

fall m (plural falls)

  1. cliff

Related terms edit

Further reading edit

Faroese edit

Etymology edit

From Old Norse fall, from falla (to fall). The grammatical sense is a calque of Latin casus.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

fall n (genitive singular fals, plural føll)

  1. fall, drop
  2. case (linguistics)

Declension edit

n10 Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative fall fallið føll føllini
Accusative fall fallið føll føllini
Dative falli fallinum føllum føllunum
Genitive fals falsins falla fallanna

German edit

Pronunciation edit

Verb edit

fall

  1. singular imperative of fallen
  2. (colloquial) first-person singular present of fallen

Icelandic edit

 
Icelandic Wikipedia has an article on:
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Etymology edit

From Old Norse fall, from falla (to fall). The grammatical sense is a calque of Latin casus.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

fall n (genitive singular falls, nominative plural föll)

  1. fall, drop
  2. (grammar) case
  3. (computing, programming) function; (subprogram, usually with formal parameters, returning a data value when called)
  4. indefinite accusative singular of fall

Declension edit

Synonyms edit

Derived terms edit

See also edit

Norwegian Bokmål edit

Noun edit

fall n (definite singular fallet, indefinite plural fall, definite plural falla or fallene)

  1. a fall
  2. case
    i fallin case
    i alle fallin any case

Derived terms edit

Related terms edit

Verb edit

fall

  1. imperative of falle

References edit

Norwegian Nynorsk edit

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

fall n (definite singular fallet, indefinite plural fall, definite plural falla)

  1. a fall
  2. case

Derived terms edit

Verb edit

fall

  1. past tense of falle
  2. imperative of falle

References edit

Old Irish edit

Alternative forms edit

  • faill (dative for nominative)

Etymology edit

From Proto-Celtic *walsā. Cognate to Welsh gwall and Breton gwall.[1]

Noun edit

fall f (genitive faille, nominative plural falla)

  1. neglect

Inflection edit

Feminine ā-stem
Singular Dual Plural
Nominative fallL faillL fallaH
Vocative fallL faillL fallaH
Accusative faillN faillL fallaH
Genitive failleH fallL fallN
Dative faillL fallaib fallaib
Initial mutations of a following adjective:
  • H = triggers aspiration
  • L = triggers lenition
  • N = triggers nasalization

Descendants edit

  • Middle Irish: faill

Mutation edit

Old Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Nasalization
fall ḟall fall
pronounced with /v(ʲ)-/
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

References edit

  1. ^ Stifter, David (2023), “The rise of gemination in Celtic”, in Open Research Europe[3], volume 3, →DOI, page 24

Further reading edit

Swedish edit

Etymology edit

From Old Norse fall, from falla (to fall). The grammatical sense is a calque of Latin casus.

Pronunciation edit

Noun edit

fall n

  1. a fall (the act of falling)
  2. a fall, loss of greatness or wealth, a bankruptcy
    Romarrikets uppgång och fallthe rise and fall of the Roman empire
  3. a slope, a waterfall, the height of a slope or waterfall
    fallet är omgivet av skogthe fall is surrounded by forest
    fallet är sjutton meterthe water falls seventeen metres; the decline is seventeen metres
  4. a (legal) case
    i alla fallanyhow (in all cases)
    i annat fallotherwise (in another case)
    i så fallif so (in such a case)
    i vilket fall som helstin any case
    i vart fallin any case

Declension edit

Declension of fall 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative fall fallet fall fallen
Genitive falls fallets falls fallens

Related terms edit

Verb edit

fall

  1. imperative of falla

References edit