Definition of fail noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//feɪl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//feɪl//
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  1. 1the result of an exam in which a person is not successful I got three passes and one fail. opposite pass
  2. 2(informal) a mistake or lack of success in doing something The show was an epic fail. Grammar Pointfail / failureThis use of fail as a noun instead of failure in a sense that does not just apply to exams has become more common in informal language in the 21st century. A similar case is revealWe have to wait for the final chapter for the big reveal.
  3. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French faillir (verb), faille (noun), based on Latin fallere ‘deceive’.Idioms
    1. 1when you tell somebody to do something without fail, you are telling them that they must do it I want you here by two o'clock without fail.
    2. 2always He emails every week without fail.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: fail