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Crossword clues for fail

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
a business collapses/fails (=stops operating)
▪ 35% of small businesses fail in the first year of operation.
a company fails (=goes bankrupt)
▪ His audio equipment company failed in the mid 1980s.
a crop fails (=does not grow or produce food properly)
▪ The drought meant the crops failed and food was scarce.
a failed/broken marriage
▪ After two failed marriages, she was not willing to risk marrying again.
a system breaks down/fails
▪ An alarm sounds a warning before the system breaks down.
a system fails/breaks down
▪ If your immune system breaks down, you will be vulnerable to infections.
an appeal fails/succeeds
▪ If the appeal fails, he will serve his full sentence.
an attempt fails/succeeds
▪ All attempts to find a cure have failed.
an attempted/abortive/failed coup (=one that did not succeed)
▪ There was an attempted coup against Togo’s military dictator.
brakes fail (=do not work when you use them)
▪ Going down the mountain I was afraid the brakes might fail.
fail a test (also flunk a test American Englishinformal)
▪ He failed the test and had to take it again.
fail an exam
▪ If you fail the exam, you can retake it.
fail an examination
▪ Michael had never yet failed an examination.
fail an inspection
▪ He couldn’t join the army because he failed the medical inspection.
fail in your duty (=not do something that you should do)
▪ I would be failing in my duty if I didn't warn you of the dangers.
failed to materialize
▪ The money we had been promised failed to materialize.
failing health (=when someone is becoming more ill)
▪ Despite failing health, he travelled to Australia to visit his son.
failing sight (=becoming worse)
▪ He ran the business until failing sight forced him to retire.
▪ In his later years, he suffered from failing eyesight.
fail/neglect/omit to mention sth (=deliberately not mention something)
▪ I omitted to mention that I had not been to university.
fail/succeed in your attempt
▪ He failed in his attempt to set a new Olympic record.
pass/fail a course
▪ If you pass the course, you get a diploma in psychology.
sb's eyesight fails
▪ He's over 80 now, and his eyesight is beginning to fail.
sb's nerve fails (him/her) (=someone suddenly loses the courage or confidence to do something)
▪ At the last moment, her nerve failed her.
sb’s courage fails (=is not great enough to do something)
▪ I was going to jump but my courage failed at the last moment.
sb’s powers are failing/waning (=becoming less good)
▪ Mark felt that his creative powers were waning.
sb’s sight fails (=gets much worse)
▪ He was in his seventies when his sight began to fail.
signally failed
▪ The government has signally failed to deal with the problem.
the harvest fails (=there are no crops or only poor crops)
▪ The potato harvest failed that year.
try/manage/fail to persuade sb
▪ I’m trying to persuade your dad to buy some shares.
▪ I had failed miserably to give my readers a true picture of the visual delights awaiting those who followed in my footsteps.
▪ But he failed miserably in getting lawmakers to pass offsetting spending cuts, aggravating two decades of deficits.
▪ The barriers are clear enough, what remains unclear is why some people are able to surmount them when others fail miserably.
▪ He had tried farming and publishing and failed miserably at both.
▪ But back home his colleagues at Eaton Park failed miserably.
▪ School-to-work must reflect business priorities and will fail miserably without business participation.
▪ Attempts to create vehicles of left-wing opinion have not succeeded; both the News-on-Sunday and the East End News failed miserably.
▪ A handful of dramas make the grade but the sitcoms are failing miserably.
▪ For all his weaknesses and crimes, Mobutu's sense of national unity never failed him.
▪ A young man who never failed, failing.
▪ And why does the process never fail?
▪ He redistributed clumps of parsley a garnish that for some reason never failed to be available in the markets.
▪ I never fail to remember on the day of the year when I was made a priest.
▪ This mime of his never failed to invoke my deep defensiveness with regard to all things Kip.
▪ Procris had given Cephalus a javelin that never failed to strike what it was aimed at.
▪ However, though much gets through, many attempts fail.
▪ The first attempts failed, but with collaboration from Hebb and others, successful adaptations were made.
▪ While past cease-fires and attempts at disarmament have failed, the current peace process has gone relatively smoothly.
▪ But also once again a friend intervened, wrestling the gun away from him, and the attempt failed.
▪ If this attempt fails, the procedure does not process this module any further.
▪ Barzel's attempt failed by two votes and there were accusations of bribery being used to achieve the result.
▪ Seismologists throughout the world have searched for such a precursor for more than 100 years but their attempts have failed.
▪ I would be failing in my duty if I allowed him such undeserved relief.
▪ You failed to do your duty as a soldier and succeeded in overthrowing the most legitimate government the nation has ever had.
▪ Where the unions fail in their duties to black workers they must be challenged to stand up for their rights.
▪ Phipps also performed well, but spoiled his record by failing to report for duty on two occasions.
▪ Greenpeace claim that the Authority is failing in its statutory duty to gather the necessary evidence to enforce the law.
▪ The Board dismissed him for allegedly failing in his duties to teach junior doctors.
▪ Lap Karen McCafferty, 17, was punished when she failed to memorise duty procedures.
▪ He had certainly been failing in his duty towards Dimity.
▪ How many people do you know who failed their first driving test?
▪ The man fails with the test!
▪ Is a child who fails a year test to be kept down?
▪ But the Legislature went on to fail a big test in the mid- 1970s.
▪ Pritchard failed a roadside breath test which recorded 151 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath.
▪ Gentry was stopped May 26, 1995, for weaving and failed a roadside sobriety test.
▪ Rolle, alas, must fail this test.
▪ Again he failed a sobriety test.
a failed actor/writer etc
failing that/this
▪ A few hours of oblivion probably, but failing that, Faber.
▪ And failing that, have you ever thought of joining a club for single people?
▪ Every failing that we pointed out has since proved to exist: those failings have emerged every year since its implementation.
▪ I would prefer to go in the kop, but failing that I'd like to try the new East stand.
▪ It's financial clout that counts or, failing that, kicking up a stink.
▪ Look for lush foliage or, failing that, avoid wilted plants or plants with leaves that are starting to brown.
▪ She is determined to make the girls hate losing, or failing that, hate the consequences of losing.
words fail me
▪ Just look at this mess. Look at it. It's...#Words fail me!
▪ To get off a train with a total stranger ... I really can not ... well, words fail me.
▪ ''How did you do in accountancy?'' ''I failed''.
▪ "How did Chris do in his driving test?" "He failed."
▪ A large number of businesses failed when interest rates rose.
▪ A very high percentage of small businesses fail within their first year.
▪ Across the state, corn crops failed due to the drought.
▪ Having failed to find her friend, she decided to return home.
▪ His heart failed and there was nothing we could do to save him.
▪ I failed my math test.
▪ I failed to convince him that I was right.
▪ If I fail my driving test again, I'm going to give up.
▪ If they were trying to put us out of business, they have failed completely.
▪ If your marriage fails it can be difficult to make a new start in life.
▪ In the last ten minutes of the game, one of the television cameras failed.
▪ Jonathan failed his law exams at the end of the year.
▪ Many of the boys in the program had been failing at school.
▪ Millions of people have tried to quit smoking and failed miserably.
▪ My attempt to lose weight failed completely.
▪ One of the engines failed at 30,000 feet.
▪ Our plan to go into business failed when the bank refused to lend us enough money.
▪ Peace talks between the two countries have failed.
▪ Cal and Stanford so far have tried, and failed, to sweep the Washington road trip.
▪ Imprisonment is a harsh measure that should be used only when every other reasonable avenue has failed.
▪ It has failed to maintain the civilization to which he has given his life as a man.
▪ Marriages can fail, and divorce is sometimes necessary.
▪ What he fails to add is that nowadays information is as leaky as a fistful of sand.
▪ When it came up for a vote in the House, the amendment failed.
▪ Yet he failed to subvert even his vulnerable neighbour.
▪ Company failures have led to massive job losses.
▪ Investigators traced the cause of the crash to engine failure.
▪ He believes that if a starter has major-league talent, nothing matters more than taking the ball every five days without fail.
▪ He writes every week without fail.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

Fail \Fail\, n. [OF. faille, from failir. See Fail, v. i.]

  1. Miscarriage; failure; deficiency; fault; -- mostly superseded by failure or failing, except in the phrase without fail. ``His highness' fail of issue.''

  2. Death; decease. [Obs.]


Fail \Fail\ (f[=a]l) v. i. [imp. & p. p. Failed (f[=a]ld); p. pr. & vb. n. Failing.] [F. failir, fr. L. fallere, falsum, to deceive, akin to E. fall. See Fail, and cf. Fallacy, False, Fault.]

  1. 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.

    As the waters fail from the sea.
    --Job xiv. 11.

    Till Lionel's issue fails, his should not reign.

  2. To be affected with want; to come short; to lack; to be deficient or unprovided; -- used with of.

    If ever they fail of beauty, this failure is not be attributed to their size.

  3. To fall away; to become diminished; to decline; to decay; to sink.

    When earnestly they seek Such proof, conclude they then begin to fail.

  4. To deteriorate in respect to vigor, activity, resources, etc.; to become weaker; as, a sick man fails.

  5. To perish; to die; -- used of a person. [Obs.]

    Had the king in his last sickness failed.

  6. To be found wanting with respect to an action or a duty to be performed, a result to be secured, etc.; to miss; not to fulfill expectation.

    Take heed now that ye fail not to do this.
    --Ezra iv. 22.

    Either my eyesight fails, or thou look'st pale.

  7. To come short of a result or object aimed at or desired; to be baffled or frusrated.

    Our envious foe hath failed.

  8. To err in judgment; to be mistaken.

    Which ofttimes may succeed, so as perhaps Shall grieve him, if I fail not.

  9. To become unable to meet one's engagements; especially, to be unable to pay one's debts or discharge one's business obligation; to become bankrupt or insolvent; as, many credit unions failed in the late 1980's.


Fail \Fail\, v. t.

  1. To be wanting to; to be insufficient for; to disappoint; to desert.

    There shall not fail thee a man on the throne.
    --1 Kings ii. 4.

  2. To miss of attaining; to lose. [R.]

    Though that seat of earthly bliss be failed.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

c.1200, "be unsuccessful in accomplishing a purpose;" also "cease to exist or to function, come to an end;" early 13c. as "fail in expectation or performance," from Old French falir "be lacking, miss, not succeed; run out, come to an end; err, make a mistake; be dying; let down, disappoint" (11c., Modern French faillir), from Vulgar Latin *fallire, from Latin fallere "to trip, cause to fall;" figuratively "to deceive, trick, dupe, cheat, elude; fail, be lacking or defective." Related: Failed; failing.\n

\nReplaced Old English abreoðan. From c.1200 as "be unsuccessful in accomplishing a purpose;" also "cease to exist or to function, come to an end;" early 13c. as "fail in expectation or performance." \nFrom mid-13c. of food, goods, etc., "to run short in supply, be used up;" from c.1300 of crops, seeds, land. From c.1300 of strength, spirits, courage, etc., "suffer loss of vigor; grow feeble;" from mid-14c. of persons. From late 14c. of material objects, "break down, go to pieces."


late 13c., "failure, deficiency" (as in without fail), from Old French faile "deficiency," from falir (see fail (v.)). The Anglo-French form of the verb, failer, also came to be used as a noun, hence failure.


Etymology 1

  1. (label en slang US) That is a failure. n. 1 (context uncountable English) (label en slang) Poor quality; substandard workmanship. 2 (label en slang) A failure (gloss: condition of being unsuccessful) 3 (label en slang US) A failure (gloss: something incapable of success) 4 A failure, especially of a financial transaction (gloss: a termination of an action). 5 A failing grade in an academic examination. v

  2. (label en intransitive) To be unsuccessful. Etymology 2

    alt. A piece of turf cut from grassland. n. A piece of turf cut from grassland.

  1. v. 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" [syn: neglect]

  2. be unsuccessful; "Where do today's public schools fail?"; "The attempt to rescue the hostages failed miserably" [syn: go wrong, miscarry] [ant: succeed]

  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" [syn: betray]

  4. stop operating or functioning; "The engine finally went"; "The car died on the road"; "The bus we travelled in broke down on the way to town"; "The coffee maker broke"; "The engine failed on the way to town"; "her eyesight went after the accident" [syn: go bad, give way, die, give out, conk out, go, break, break down]

  5. be unable; "I fail to understand your motives" [ant: pull off]

  6. judge unacceptable; "The teacher failed six students" [ant: pass]

  7. fail to get a passing grade; "She studied hard but failed nevertheless"; "Did I fail the test?" [syn: flunk, bomb, flush it] [ant: pass]

  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"

  9. become bankrupt or insolvent; fail financially and close; "The toy company went bankrupt after the competition hired cheap Mexican labor"; "A number of banks failed that year"

  10. prove insufficient; "The water supply for the town failed after a long drought" [syn: run out, give out]

  11. get worse; "Her health is declining"


Usage examples of "fail".

Menstruation may fail to be established in consequence of organic defects, or from some abnormal condition of the blood and nervous system.

The complaint further alleged that the office of the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections failed to inform the Democratic Party of the actions of the Republican Party volunteers and to afford them the same opportunity to correct defective requests for absentee ballots from Democratic Party members.

If this fails, the finger is wiped off with a piece of cloth which has been saturated with alcohol, benzine or acetone, after which it may be inked and printed.

Leiter out by going to the Acme Baths to make the pay-off if Shy Smile failed to win the race.

In most cases, acquiescence need only be a last resort when attempts to stop the attack have failed.

If, after other strategies have failed, acquiescence is deemed to be the optimum response to protect life and reduce physical injury in a given situation, it is important that the victim be comfortable with such a choice and be aware that postassault guilt feelings will probably arise.

Congress should fail to act, and act adequately, I shall accept the responsibility, and I will act.

We failed to appreciate adequately what her presence among us meant and it is only now, when she has gone for ever, that we come to realize the irreparable character of our loss.

Terrible as were the losses of the Huguenots by fire and sword, considerable as were the defections from their ranks of those who found in the reformed Catholic church a spiritual refuge, still greater was the loss of the Protestant cause in failing to secure the adherence of such minds as Dolet and Rabelais, Ronsard and Montaigne, and of the thousands influenced by them.

The husband married again, and on his return to Massachusetts, his ex-wife petitioned the Massachusetts court to adjudge him in contempt for failing to make payments for her separate support under the earlier Massachusetts decree.

Constitution which precludes Congress from making criminal the violation of an administrative regulation, by one who has failed to avail himself of an adequate separate procedure for the adjudication of its validity, or which precludes the practice, in many ways desirable, of splitting the trial for violations of an administrative regulation by committing the determination of the issue of its validity to the agency which created it, and the issue of violation to a court which is given jurisdiction to punish violations.

Berry was aroused by an unusual prolonged wailing of the child, which showed that no one was comforting it, and failing to get any answer to her applications for admittance, she made bold to enter.

Nations thus tempted to interfere are not always able to resist the counsels of seeming expediency and ungenerous ambition, although measures adopted under such influences seldom fail to be unfortunate and injurious to those adopting them.

Apparently handfuls of migrants from Eastern Polynesia failed to establish the tanging of adzes among the conservative Western Polynesians.

The journey took several minutes even at a sprint, through sunken tunnels and window-lined connecting bridges, up and down grilled ramps, through ponderous internal airlocks and sweltering aeroponics labs, taking this detour or that to avoid a blown bubble or failed airlock.