Basic+ Word of the Day: fail

fail (verb) past tense: failed LISTEN

I failed my exam.

If you fail, it means that you try to do something, but in the end you can’t do it.

  • They wanted to stop us, but they failed.

If you fail a test or exam, it means that you don’t do it well. You don’t get the result that you needed.

  • She failed her driving test three times.

If you fail to do something, it means that you don’t do it.

  • He failed to stop at the red light.

Related words

When something doesn’t happen like we hoped, we can say that it is a failure. For example, “The meeting was a complete failure. We didn’t agree on anything.”

In pop culture

The word failure is the noun for a thing that fails. There is a very famous line from the classic 1967 movie Cool Hand Luke: “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” This means that they cannot communicate well. Do you think that they were trying very hard to communicate with their words?

There are other meanings of fail.

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