From Middle English fal, fall, falle, from Old English feall, ġefeall (“a falling, fall”), from Proto-Germanic *fallą, *fallaz (“a fall, trap”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)pōl-. Cognate with Dutch val, German Fall, Swedish fall, Icelandic fall.
Sense of "autumn" is by 1660s England, short for Middle English fall of the leaf (1540s), from the falling of leaves during this season.
fall (countable and uncountable, plural falls)
- (heading, intransitive) To be moved downwards.
- To move to a lower position under the effect of gravity.
- To come down, to drop or descend.
- To come to the ground deliberately, to prostrate oneself.
- To be brought to the ground.
- (transitive) To move downwards.
- (obsolete) To let fall; to drop.
- (obsolete) To sink; to depress.
- (Britain, US, dialectal, archaic) To fell; to cut down.
- (intransitive) To happen, to change negatively.
- (copulative) To become.
- To occur (on a certain day of the week, date, or similar); said of an instance of a recurring event such as a holiday or date.
- (intransitive) To collapse; to be overthrown or defeated.
- (intransitive, formal, euphemistic) To die, especially in battle or by disease.
- (intransitive) To become lower (in quantity, pitch, etc.).
- (followed by a determining word or phrase) To become; to be affected by or befallen with a calamity; to change into the state described by words following; to become prostrated literally or figuratively (see Usage notes below).
- (intransitive) To be allotted to; to arrive through chance, fate, or inheritance.
- (transitive, obsolete) To diminish; to lessen or lower.
- (transitive, obsolete) To bring forth.
- (intransitive, obsolete) To issue forth into life; to be brought forth; said of the young of certain animals.
- (intransitive) To descend in character or reputation; to become degraded; to sink into vice, error, or sin.
- (intransitive) To become ensnared or entrapped; to be worse off than before.
- (intransitive) To assume a look of shame or disappointment; to become or appear dejected; said of the face.
- (intransitive) To happen; to come to pass; to chance or light (upon).
- (intransitive) To begin with haste, ardour, or vehemence; to rush or hurry.
- (intransitive) To be dropped or uttered carelessly.
- (intransitive, of a fabric) To hang down (under the influence of gravity).
Perhaps from the north-eastern Scottish pronunciation of whale.
- (nautical) The cry given when a whale is sighted, or harpooned.
fall (plural falls)
- (nautical) The chasing of a hunted whale.