To be wanting; to fall short; to be or become deficient in any measure or degree up to total absence; to cease to be furnished in the usual or expected manner, or to be altogether cut off from supply; to be lacking; as, streams fail; crops fail.
- To prove deficient or lacking; perform ineffectively or inadequately: failed to fulfill their promises; failed in their attempt to reach the summit.
- To be unsuccessful: an experiment that failed.
- To receive an academic grade below the acceptable minimum.
- To prove insufficient in quantity or duration; give out: The water supply failed during the drought.
- To decline, as in strength or effectiveness: The light began to fail.
- To cease functioning properly: The engine failed.
- To give way or be made otherwise useless as a result of excessive strain: The rusted girders failed and caused the bridge to collapse.
- To become bankrupt or insolvent: Their business failed during the last recession.
- To disappoint or prove undependable to: Our sentries failed us.
- To abandon; forsake: His strength failed him.
- To omit to perform (an expected duty, for example): "We must . . . hold . . . those horrors up to the light of justice. Otherwise we would fail our inescapable obligation to the victims of Nazism: to remember” ( Anthony Lewis).
- To leave undone; neglect: failed to wash the dishes.
- To receive an academic grade below the acceptable minimum in (a course, for example): failed algebra twice.
- To give such a grade of failure to (a student): failed me in algebra.
- Failure to deliver securities to a purchaser within a specified time.
- Failure to receive the proceeds of a transaction, as in the sale of stock or securities, by a specified date.
- without fail With no chance of failure: Be here at noon without fail.