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a. A loss of wealth, rank, reputation, or happiness; ruin.
b. A cause of ruin: I tried dieting, but cake was my downfall.
2. A fall of rain or snow, especially a heavy or unexpected one.


1. a sudden loss of position, health, or reputation
2. (Physical Geography) a fall of rain, snow, etc, esp a sudden heavy one
3. (Hunting) another word for deadfall



1. overthrow; ruin.
2. something causing this.
3. a sudden fall of rain or snow.
down′fall`en, adj.



(See also FAILURE.)

come a cropper To fail badly in any undertaking, particularly after its apparent initial success; to encounter a sudden setback after an auspicious beginning. This figurative meaning derives from the literal come a cropper ‘to fall or be thrown headlong from a horse.’ Although the precise origin of the expression is not known, it may be related to the earlier phrase neck and crop meaning ‘bodily, completely, altogether.’ Both literal and figurative uses of the expression date from the second half of the 1800s.

Custer’s last stand An all-out, noble effort that ends in utter, embarrassing failure. In June of 1876, U.S. General George A. Custer’s troops were annihilated by Sioux warriors under Sitting Bull at the Battle of Little Big Horn. Since then, Custer’s last stand has gained currency as a phrase used in comparisons to emphasize those aspects of a given situation which fit the pattern of an all-out effort negated by total defeat, as established by the historical Custer’s last stand.

hoist with one’s own petard See REVERSAL.

meet one’s Waterloo To suffer a crushing and decisive defeat; to succumb to the pressures of a predicament, tragedy, or other unfavorable situation; to meet one’s match; to get one’s comeuppance. This expression alludes to the Battle of Waterloo (1815) in which Napoleon was decisively vanquished by the Duke of Wellington.

Every man meets his Waterloo at last. (Wendell Phillipps, in a speech, November 1, 1859)

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.downfall - failure that results in a loss of position or reputationdownfall - failure that results in a loss of position or reputation
failure - an event that does not accomplish its intended purpose; "the surprise party was a complete failure"
finish - the downfall of someone (as of persons on one side of a conflict); "booze will be the finish of him"; "it was a fight to the finish"
2.downfall - the falling to earth of any form of water (rain or snow or hail or sleet or mist)
fine spray - precipitation in very small drops
hail - precipitation of ice pellets when there are strong rising air currents
rain, rainfall - water falling in drops from vapor condensed in the atmosphere
sleet - partially melted snow (or a mixture of rain and snow)
snow, snowfall - precipitation falling from clouds in the form of ice crystals
virga - light wispy precipitation that evaporates before it reaches the ground (especially when the lower air is low in humidity)
atmospheric condition, weather, weather condition, conditions - the atmospheric conditions that comprise the state of the atmosphere in terms of temperature and wind and clouds and precipitation; "they were hoping for good weather"; "every day we have weather conditions and yesterday was no exception"; "the conditions were too rainy for playing in the snow"
3.downfall - a sudden decline in strength or number or importance; "the fall of the House of Hapsburg"
weakening - becoming weaker
anticlimax - a disappointing decline after a previous rise; "the anticlimax of a brilliant career"


noun ruin, fall, destruction, collapse, breakdown, disgrace, overthrow, descent, undoing, comeuppance (slang), comedown His lack of experience led to his downfall.


1. A sudden drop to a lower condition or status:
2. A disastrous overwhelming defeat or ruin:
3. Something that causes total loss or severe impairment, as of one's health, fortune, honor, or hopes:
إنْهِيار، سُقوط


[ˈdaʊnfɔːl] N
1. (= collapse) → caída f
2. (= ruin) → perdición f, ruina f
it will be his downfallserá su perdición


[ˈdaʊnfɔːl] n [person] → chute f, ruine f
to be sb's downfall (= cause of failure) → entraîner la ruine de qn


[ˈdaʊnˌfɔːl] nrovina, caduta


(daun) adverb
1. towards or in a low or lower position, level or state. He climbed down to the bottom of the ladder.
2. on or to the ground. The little boy fell down and cut his knee.
3. from earlier to later times. The recipe has been handed down in our family for years.
4. from a greater to a smaller size, amount etc. Prices have been going down steadily.
5. towards or in a place thought of as being lower, especially southward or away from a centre. We went down from Glasgow to Bristol.
1. in a lower position on. Their house is halfway down the hill.
2. to a lower position on, by, through or along. Water poured down the drain.
3. along. The teacher's gaze travelled slowly down the line of children.
to finish (a drink) very quickly, especially in one gulp. He downed a pint of beer.
ˈdownward adjective
leading, moving etc down. a downward curve.
ˈdownward(s) adverb
towards a lower position or state. The path led downward (s) towards the sea.
down-and-ˈout noun, adjective
(a person) having no money and no means of earning a living. a hostel for down-and-outs.
ˌdown-at-ˈheel adjective
shabby, untidy and not well looked after or well-dressed.
ˈdowncast adjective
(of a person) depressed; in low spirits. a downcast expression.
ˈdownfall noun
a disastrous fall, especially a final failure or ruin. the downfall of our hopes.
ˌdownˈgrade verb
to reduce to a lower level, especially of importance. His job was downgraded.
ˌdownˈhearted adjective
depressed and in low spirits, especially lacking the inclination to carry on with something. Don't be downhearted! – we may yet win.
ˌdownˈhill adverb
1. down a slope. The road goes downhill all the way from our house to yours.
2. towards a worse and worse state. We expected him to die, I suppose, because he's been going steadily downhill for months.
downˈhill racing noun
racing downhill on skis.
downˈhill skiing noun
ˌdown-in-the-ˈmouth adjective
miserable; in low spirits.
down payment
a payment in cash, especially to begin the purchase of something for which further payments will be made over a period of time.
ˈdownpour noun
a very heavy fall of rain.
ˈdownright adverb
plainly; there's no other word for it. I think he was downright rude!
He is a downright nuisance!
ˈdownstairs adjective
, ˌdownˈstairsadverb on or towards a lower floor. He walked downstairs; I left my book downstairs; a downstairs flat.
ˌdownˈstream adverb
further along a river towards the sea. We found/rowed the boat downstream.
ˌdown-to-ˈearth adjective
practical and not concerned with theories, ideals etc. She is a sensible, down-to-earth person.
ˈdowntown adjective
(American) the part (of a city) containing the main centres for business and shopping. downtown Manhattan.
ˌdownˈtown adverb
(also down town) in or towards this area. to go downtown; I was down town yesterday.
ˈdown-trodden adjective
badly treated; treated without respect. a down-trodden wife.
be/go down with
to be or become ill with. The children all went down with measles.
down on one's luck
having bad luck.
down tools
to stop working. When the man was sacked his fellow workers downed tools and walked out.
down with
get rid of. Down with the dictator!
get down to
to begin working seriously at or on. I must get down to some letters!
suit (someone) down to the ground
to suit perfectly. That arrangement will suit me down to the ground.
References in classic literature ?
I don't complain near as much as the others do, and I shall be more careful than ever now, for I've had warning from Susies's downfall," said Amy morally.
The roof of bark had long since fallen, and mingled with the soil, but the huge logs of pine, which had been hastily thrown together, still preserved their relative positions, though one angle of the work had given way under the pressure, and threatened a speedy downfall to the remainder of the rustic edifice.
It came with bright flashes of sunlight by day, with deep, monotonous shadow at night; with the onset of heavy winds, the roar of turbulent woods, the tumultuous tossing of leafy arms, and with what seemed the silent dissolution of the whole landscape in days of steady and uninterrupted downfall.
Finally, little heroic as he was, it seemed more decorous to be overthrown in the downfall of the party with which he had been content to stand than to remain a forlorn survivor, when so many worthier men were falling: and at last, after subsisting for four years on the mercy of a hostile administration, to be compelled then to define his position anew, and claim the yet more humiliating mercy of a friendly one.
So he told her the long story of his adventures since his flight from home; his life as a tramp, and his work in the freight tunnels, and the accident; and then of Jack Duane, and of his political career in the stockyards, and his downfall and subsequent failures.
It was doubtless in consequence of a knowl- edge of this fact, that one great statesman of the south predicted the downfall of slavery by the in- evitable laws of population.
being infirm, and it being within the bounds of probability that his decease might lead to some discoveries, and to the downfall of - HEEP'S - power over the W.
Pumblechook, sighing and nodding his head several times, as if he might have expected that, and as if abstinence from watercresses were consistent with my downfall.
Listen to these horrid sounds,'' for the din of the recommenced assault and defence now rung fearfully loud from the battlements of the castle; ``in that war-cry is the downfall of thy house The blood-cemented fabric of Front-de-B
The only refuge left for those who prophesy the downfall of the State governments is the visionary supposition that the federal government may previously accumulate a military force for the projects of ambition.
Nor, again, should the downfall of the utter villain be exhibited.
It was not over the downfall of the man, but over the defeat of the Napoleonic idea, that they rejoiced, and in this they foresaw for themselves the bright and cheering prospect of a revivified political existence.