1 /feIl/ verb
1 TRY BUT FAIL (I) to be unsuccessful in something that you want to do: Peace talks between the two countries have failed. | fail to do sth: Doctors failed to save the girl's life. | fail miserably (=be completely unsuccessful in a way that it is embarrassing): Millions of people have tried to quit smoking and failed miserably.
2 NOT DO WHAT IS EXPECTED (I) to not do what is expected, needed, or wanted : fail to do sth: The letter failed to arrive. | The report cleverly fails to mention the real cost of this experiment. | fail in your duty/responsibility: I would be failing in my duty if I didn't warn you of the consequences of your actions.
a) (I, T) to not pass a test or examination: I failed my driving test the first time I took it.
(+ on): I passed the written paper but failed on my oral.
b) (T) to decide that someone has not passed a test or examination
4 I fail to see/understand formal used to show that you are annoyed by something that you do not accept or understand: I fail to see why you find it so amusing.
5 COMPANY/BUSINESS (I) to be unable to continue because of a lack of money: A large number of small businesses failed in the recession.
6 MACHINE/BODY PART (I) if a part of a machine or an organ in your body fails, it stops working: The rocket's engine failed a few seconds after take-off. | My uncle's kidneys failed two days after the operation.
7 never fail to do sth to do something so regularly that people are sure that you will do it: My grandson never fails to phone me on my birthday.
8 your courage/will/nerve fails (you) if your courage etc fails, or fails you, you suddenly do not have it when you need it: At the last moment my nerve failed. I walked away from her door without knocking.
9 fail sb to not do what someone has trusted you to do: I feel I've failed my children by not spending more time with them.
—see also: words fail me word 1 (10)
10 CROPS (I) to not grow or produce food: If the crops fail again this year, people will starve.
11 RAINS (I) to not come at the usual time of year
12 failing sight/health sight or health that is becoming worse
2 noun
1 without fail
a) if you do something without fail, you always do it: Tim visits his mother every day without fail.
b) used to tell someone very firmly that they must do something: I want that work finished by tomorrow, without fail!
2 (C) an unsuccessful result in a test or examination: I got a fail in history.

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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