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  Dictionary Definition of fail

fail
verb (i)
1. to come short or be wanting in action, detail, or result; disappoint or prove lacking in what is attempted, expected, desired, or approved.
2. to be or become deficient or lacking; fall short; be insufficient or absent: our supplies failed.
3. to fall off; dwindle; pass or die away.
4. to lose strength or vigour; become weaker.
5. to become unable to meet one's engagements, especially one's debts or business obligations; become insolvent or bankrupt.
-- verb (t)
6. to neglect to perform or observe: he failed to come.
7. to prove of no use or help to, as some expected or usual resource: his friends failed him; words failed him.
8. to take (an examination, etc.) without passing.
9. to declare (a person) unsuccessful in a test, course of study, etc.
10. to declare (a vehicle, train, etc.) unroadworthy.
-- noun
11. an examination score which is classified as a failure.
-- phrase
12. without fail, for certain; with certainty.
[ME faile ( n ), from OF faillir, from var. of L fallere deceive, disappoint]