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Related to failure: failure to thrive


1. The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends: the failure of an experiment.
2. One that fails: a failure at one's career.
3. The condition or fact of being insufficient or falling short: a crop failure.
4. A cessation of proper functioning or performance: a power failure.
5. Nonperformance of what is requested or expected; omission: failure to report a change of address.
6. The act or fact of failing to pass a course, test, or assignment.
7. A decline in strength or effectiveness.
8. The act or fact of becoming bankrupt or insolvent.

[Alteration of failer, default, from Anglo-Norman, from Old French faillir, to fail; see fail.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. the act or an instance of failing
2. a person or thing that is unsuccessful or disappointing: the evening was a failure.
3. nonperformance of something required or expected: failure to attend will be punished.
4. cessation of normal operation; breakdown: a power failure.
5. an insufficiency or shortage: a crop failure.
6. a decline or loss, as in health or strength
7. (Education) the fact of not reaching the required standard in an examination, test, course, etc
8. (Banking & Finance) the act or process of becoming bankrupt or the state of being bankrupt
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˈfeɪl yər)

1. an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success.
2. nonperformance of something due, required, or expected: a failure to appear.
3. a subnormal quantity or quality; an insufficiency: the failure of crops.
4. deterioration or decay, esp. of vigor or strength.
5. a condition of being bankrupt by reason of insolvency.
6. a becoming insolvent or bankrupt the failure of a bank.
7. a person or thing that proves unsuccessful.
[1635–45; earlier failer a (de)fault < Anglo-French (n. use of infinitive), for faillir]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.




  1. The anatomy of the first major success is like the young human body, a miracle only the owner can fully savor —John Fowles
  2. As he rose like a rocket, he fell like a stick —Thomas Paine
  3. A certain prosperity coats these people like scent or the layer of buttery light in a painting by Rubens —Jean Thompson
  4. A conqueror, like a cannon ball, must go on; if he rebounds, his career is over —The Duke of Wellington
  5. (The midlist author is) dogged by his past sales record, like a utility infielder with a .228 lifetime batting average —Phillip Lopate, New York Times Book Review, May 24, 1987
  6. Failed … like an old hanging bridge —Marge Piercy
  7. Fail like a five-year plan —Derek Lambert
  8. Failure grabs a man like an old and shabby suit —Derek Lambert
  9. (A great beauty) flourishing like a rose —Isak Dinesen
  10. Flourishing like a weed in a hot house —Susan Fromberg Schaeffer
  11. Flourishing like trees —Hilma Wolitzer
  12. Had risen to his great height like a man lifted to the ceiling by a sort of slow explosion —G. K. Chesterton
  13. High office is like a pyramid; only two kinds of animals reach the summit, reptiles and eagles —Jean Le Rond d’Alembert
  14. His life, day after day, was failing like an unreplenished stream —Percy Bysshe Shelley
  15. Moving up hand over hand … like a champion —Tom Wolfe
  16. Pursued success as a knight the Holy Grail —Anon


  17. Sailed through the world like a white yacht jubilant with flags —John Gardner
  18. Selling like lemonade at a track meet —T. Coraghessan Boyle
  19. Sell like hotcakes —Anon

    Different industries have coined many phrases for things which sell well. This American simile which came into use in the middle of the nineteenth century is still the most widely used. For a twist in meaning there’s “Selling like cold hot cakes” from The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley.

  20. Sold [books by nineteenth century author Karl May] like pancakes topped by wild blueberries and heavy cream —Vincent Canby, New York Times, June 25, 1986
  21. Sold like picks and pans in a gold rush —Robert Guenther, Wall Street Journal, August 6, 1986
  22. Success is as ice cold and lonely as the North Pole —Vicki Baum

    See Also: ALONENESS

  23. Success is feminine and like a woman, if you cringe before her, she will override you —William Faulkner

    Faulkner expanded on this simile still further: “So the way to treat her is to show her the back of your hand. Then maybe she will do the crawling.”

  24. Success on some men looks like a borrowed coat; it sits on you as though it had been made to order —Edith Wharton
  25. Triumphs like a trumpet —Wallace Stevens
  26. Wanted his success acknowledged … like the high school loser who dreams of driving to the class reunion in a custom-made sports car —Jean Thompson
  27. Winning an Oscar … it’s like getting thirty thousand red roses at one time —Louise Fletcher, from Rex Reed interview
  28. Wore his success like his health —George Garrett
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.




back to the drawing board An acknowledgment that an enterprise has failed and that one must begin again from scratch, at the initial planning stages. The drawing board in question is the type used by draftsmen, architects, engineers, etc., for blueprints and such schematic designs. A similar phrase is back to square one, by analogy to a games board. Its meaning is the same—“We’ve got to start all over, from the very beginning.”

bite the dust See DEATH.

[one’s] cake is dough One’s project or undertaking has failed, one’s expectations or hopes have come to naught; one never has any luck. A cake which comes out of the oven as dough is clearly a total failure. Shakespeare used this now obsolete proverbial expression in The Taming of the Shrew (V, i):

My cake is dough; but I’ll in among the rest,
Out of hope of all but my share of the feast.

damp squib An enterprise that was to have been a great success, but fizzled out; a lead balloon; a dud. In this British colloquialism, squib is another name for a firecracker. If it is damp, it will not explode as expected. It may fizzle or, in some cases, turn out to be a dud.

flash in the pan An instant but short-lived success; a brief, intense effort that yields no significant results; a failure after an impressive beginning. This expression refers to the occasional misfiring of the old flintlock rifles which caused a flash, or sudden burst of flame, as the gunpowder in the pan burned instead of exploding and discharging a bullet. The expression appears in an 1802 military dictionary edited by Charles James:

Flash in the pan, an explosion of gunpowder without any communication beyond the touch-hole.

go belly up See DEATH.

goose egg A term used figuratively for lack of success in any endeavor; an instance of not scoring or of missing a point, so-called from the slang term for the numeral “0.” As far back as the 14th century, things were compared to goose eggs because of a similarity in shape and size. By the mid-1800s, the term was used in scoring at athletic contests.

At this stage of the game our opponents had fourteen runs—we had five large “goose eggs” as our share. (Wilkes’ Spirit of Times, July 14, 1866)

Goose egg can also be used as a verb.

I now had twenty-two consecutive World Series innings in which I goose-egged the National League. (Saturday Evening Post, February 28, 1948)

go up in smoke To come to naught, to be wasted or futile; to be unsuccessful, to fail or flop; also to end up in smoke and other variants.

One might let him scheme and talk, hoping it might all end in smoke. (Jane Welsh Carlyle, New Letters and Memorials, 1853)

Use of this self-evident expression dates from the 17th century.

lay an egg To flop or bomb, especially when performing before an audience; to fail miserably. During World War I, lay an egg was Air Force terminology for ‘drop a bomb,’ egg probably being associated with bomb because of its similar shape. In addition, egg or goose egg is common slang for ‘zero, cipher,’ also because of their similar shapes. Thus, to lay an egg is ‘to bomb’ (figuratively), or to produce a large zero, i.e., nothing in terms of a favorable response from an audience, supervisor, or other persons evaluating a performance.

You would just as well come wearing a shell if you ever took a job [singing] in a spot like this, that is how big an egg you would lay. (John O’Hara, Pal Joey, 1939)

lead balloon A failure, fiasco, or flop; an attempt to entertain or communicate that fails to elicit a desirable response. This phrase is relatively new, having appeared in print no earlier that the mid-1900s. Lead balloon was originally heard in the verb phrase to go over like a lead balloon, an obvious hyperbolic expression for failing miserably. Today the phrase is used alone substantively or adjectivally. Thus, a joke, plan, etc., can be called a “lead balloon.”

What the Dickens? was a lead balloon literary quiz wherein the experts showed only how little they knew. (Sunday Times, April 19, 1970)

lemon An object of inferior quality; a dud; something that fails to meet expectations. This expression alludes to the lemons painted on the reels of slot machines or “one-armed bandits.” Whenever a lemon appears on one of the reels, regardless of what appears on the other reels, the gambler automatically loses his money. Lemon was in popular use by 1905, less than ten years after slot machines were invented. The expression remains almost ubiquitous, particularly in its most common current application, i.e., in reference to automobiles which experience almost constant mechanical difficulties.

Mechanics are less than delighted to see lines of lemons converging on their service departments. (Saturday Review, June 17, 1972)

See also one-armed bandit, NICKNAMES.

lose one’s shirt To be financially devastated. This common expression implies that a shirt is the last of one’s possessions to be lost in a financial upheaval.

a miss is as good as a mile A proverb implying that it does not matter how close one comes to hitting or attaining a goal, a near miss is still a miss, a near success is still a failure, etc. This expression is probably a corruption of an earlier, more explicit adage, “An inch in a miss is as good as an ell.” (An ell is a unit of measurement; in England, 45 inches.) It has also been suggested that the original expression was “Amis is as good as Amile,” alluding to two of Charlemagne’s soldiers who were both heroes, both martyrs, and both saints—thus, to many people, they were virtually indistinguishable.

He was very near being a poet—but a miss is as good as a mile, and he always fell short of the mark. (Sir Walter Scott, Journal, 1825)

miss the boat To miss out on something by arriving too late, to lose an opportunity or chance; to fail to understand; also to miss the bus. These phrases bring to mind the image of someone arriving at the dock or bus stop just in time to see the boat or bus leaving without him. Although both expressions date from approximately the early part of this century, to miss the boat is by far the more common.

Some firms were missing the boat because their managements were not prepared to be adventurous. (The Times, March, 1973)

my Venus turns out a whelp See REVERSAL.

take a bath To be ruined financially, to lose everything, to go to the cleaners; usually used in reference to a specific financial venture. This figurative American slang use of to take a bath, meaning ‘to be stripped of all one’s possessions,’ plays on one’s physical nakedness when bathing.

washed out To have met with failure or financial ruin; disqualified from social, athletic, or scholastic pursuits. One theory suggests that this phrase originated as an allusion to the former military custom of whitewashing a target after shooting practice, but the connection is difficult to discern. In modern usage, this expression is often applied in an athletic context to one who, because of injury or inferior ability, can no longer compete. In addition, the expression often implies a total depletion of funds.

I would sit in with … hustlers who really knew how to gamble. I always got washed out. (Louis Armstrong, Satchmo, My Life in New Orleans, 1954)

wither on the vine To fail to mature, develop, or reach fruition; to die aborning; to go unused, to be wasted. The expression describes lost opportunity, unrealized ambitions or talents, unfulfilled plans, etc. It often implies negligence or oversight; if such had been properly tended and nourished, they would have blossomed. An obvious antecedent of the expression appeared in the 17th century:

Like a neglected rose
It withers on the stalk with
languish’t head.
(John Milton, Comus, 1634)

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.failure - an act that failsfailure - an act that fails; "his failure to pass the test"
nonaccomplishment, nonachievement - an act that does not achieve its intended goal
flunk, failing - failure to reach a minimum required performance; "his failing the course led to his disqualification"; "he got two flunks on his report"
naught - complete failure; "all my efforts led to naught"
loss - the act of losing someone or something; "everyone expected him to win so his loss was a shock"
lapsing, relapse, relapsing, backsliding, reverting, lapse, reversion - a failure to maintain a higher state
misplay, error - (baseball) a failure of a defensive player to make an out when normal play would have sufficed
out - (baseball) a failure by a batter or runner to reach a base safely in baseball; "you only get 3 outs per inning"
nonconformance, nonconformity - failure to conform to accepted standards of behavior
nonpayment, nonremittal, default - act of failing to meet a financial obligation
2.failure - an event that does not accomplish its intended purpose; "the surprise party was a complete failure"
happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent - an event that happens
downfall, ruination, ruin - failure that results in a loss of position or reputation
flame-out - a complete or conspicuous failure; "the spectacular flame-out of the company's stock cost many people their life savings"
malfunction - a failure to function normally
miscarriage, abortion - failure of a plan
misfire, miss - a failure to hit (or meet or find etc)
bust, fizzle, flop - a complete failure; "the play was a dismal flop"
miscreation, malformation - something abnormal or anomalous
equipment failure, breakdown - a cessation of normal operation; "there was a power breakdown"
defeat, licking - an unsuccessful ending to a struggle or contest; "it was a narrow defeat"; "the army's only defeat"; "they suffered a convincing licking"
success - an event that accomplishes its intended purpose; "let's call heads a success and tails a failure"; "the election was a remarkable success for the Whigs"
3.failure - lack of success; "he felt that his entire life had been a failure"; "that year there was a crop failure"
circumstances, luck, destiny, fate, fortune, lot, portion - your overall circumstances or condition in life (including everything that happens to you); "whatever my fortune may be"; "deserved a better fate"; "has a happy lot"; "the luck of the Irish"; "a victim of circumstances"; "success that was her portion"
bankruptcy - a state of complete lack of some abstract property; "spiritual bankruptcy"; "moral bankruptcy"; "intellectual bankruptcy"
bank failure - the inability of a bank to meet its credit obligations
crop failure - the failure of crops to produce a marketable surplus
dead duck - something doomed to failure; "he finally admitted that the legislation was a dead duck"; "the idea of another TV channel is now a dead duck"; "as theories go, that's a dead duck"
success - a state of prosperity or fame; "he is enjoying great success"; "he does not consider wealth synonymous with success"
4.failure - a person with a record of failingfailure - a person with a record of failing; someone who loses consistently
unfortunate, unfortunate person - a person who suffers misfortune
bankrupt, insolvent - someone who has insufficient assets to cover their debts
flash in the pan - someone who enjoys transient success but then fails
dud, flop, washout - someone who is unsuccessful
underdog - one at a disadvantage and expected to lose
5.failure - an unexpected omission; "he resented my failure to return his call"; "the mechanic's failure to check the brakes"
dashing hopes, disappointment - an act (or failure to act) that disappoints someone
breach - a failure to perform some promised act or obligation
copout - a failure to face some difficulty squarely
omission, skip - a mistake resulting from neglect
6.failure - inability to discharge all your debts as they come duefailure - inability to discharge all your debts as they come due; "the company had to declare bankruptcy"; "fraudulent loans led to the failure of many banks"
insolvency - the lack of financial resources
7.failure - loss of ability to function normally; "kidney failure"
disorder, upset - a physical condition in which there is a disturbance of normal functioning; "the doctor prescribed some medicine for the disorder"; "everyone gets stomach upsets from time to time"
coronary failure, heart failure - inability of the heart to pump enough blood to sustain normal bodily functions
kidney failure, renal failure - inability of the kidneys to excrete wastes and to help maintain the electrolyte balance
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. lack of success, defeat, collapse, abortion, wreck, frustration, breakdown, overthrow, miscarriage, fiasco, downfall The policy is doomed to failure.
lack of success success, triumph, effectiveness, adequacy
2. catastrophe, disaster, fiasco, let-down, trouble, tragedy, blunder, misfortune, devastation, calamity, mishap The marriage was a failure and they both wanted to be free of it.
3. loser, disappointment, no-good, flop (informal), write-off, incompetent, no-hoper (chiefly Austral.), dud (informal), clinker (slang, chiefly U.S.), black sheep, washout (informal), clunker (informal), dead duck (slang), ne'er-do-well, saddo (Brit. slang), nonstarter I just felt I had been a failure in my personal life.
5. breakdown, stalling, cutting out, malfunction, crash, disruption, stoppage, mishap, conking out (informal) There were also several accidents mainly caused by engine failures on take-off.
6. failing, deterioration, decay, loss, decline He was being treated for kidney failure.
7. scarcity, lack, shortfall, inadequacy, dearth, insufficiency displaced by fighting or crop failure
8. bankruptcy, crash, collapse, ruin, folding (informal), closure, winding up, downfall, going under, liquidation, insolvency Business failures rose 16% last month.
bankruptcy fortune, prosperity
Related words
fear kakorraphiaphobia
"A failure is a stranger in his own house" [Eric Hoffer The Passionate State of Mind]
"There is not a fiercer hell than the failure in a great object" [John Keats Endymion]
"There is no failure except in no longer trying" [Elbert Hubbard The Note Book]
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


1. The condition of not achieving the desired end:
2. One that fails completely:
Informal: dud, flop, lemon.
Slang: bomb.
3. A cessation of proper mechanical functions:
4. Nonperformance of what ought to be done:
5. A marked loss of strength or effectiveness:
6. The condition of being financially insolvent:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
فَشَلإنْسان فاشِلإنْقِطاع التيّار الكهربائيعَدَم القِيام بِ، رَفْض
fiaskomanglende evnenederlagsvigtfejl
elmulasztásmulasztássikertelen ember
mislukkaîur maîuròaî aî e-î bregstrafmagnsleysivanræksla; òaî aî láta e-î ógert
başarısızlıkihmalbaşarısız kimse/şey
sự thất bại


A. N
1. (= lack of success) → fracaso m; (in exam) → suspenso m; [of crops] → pérdida f; [of supplies] → corte m, interrupción f; [of hopes] → frustración f, malogro m
to end in failureacabar mal, malograrse (LAm)
it was a complete failurefue un fracaso total
the crop was a total failurela cosecha se perdió por completo
see also power C
2. (Tech) → fallo m, avería f (Med) → crisis f inv, ataque m (Fin) → quiebra f
see also heart
3. (= person) → fracasado/a m/f
4. (= neglect) → falta f
his failure to comesu ausencia, el que no viniera
failure to payincumplimiento m en el pago, impago m
B. CPD failure rate N (in exams) → porcentaje m de suspensos; [of machine] → porcentaje m de averías
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˈfeɪljər] n
(= lack of success) [activity, attempt, plan] → échec m; [remedy] → inefficacité f
feelings of failure → un sentiment d'échec
to end in failure → se solder par un échec
(= unsuccessful person) → raté(e) m/f
He's a failure → C'est un raté.
(= unsuccessful marriage, relationship, event) → échec m
It was a complete failure → Ce fut un échec total.
(= breakdown) [equipment, machine] → défaillance f
a mechanical failure → une défaillance mécanique
a power failure → une panne de courant
engine failure → panne f de moteur
(MEDICINE) kidney failure → insuffisance f rénale
heart failure (= chronic condition) → insuffisance f cardiaque (= cardiac arrest) → arrêt m du cœur
to suffer heart failure → être victime d'un arrêt cardiaque
(= omission)
his failure to turn up → le fait de n'être pas venu, le fait qu'il ne soit pas venu
their disgraceful failure to support British citizens → leur manque de soutien déplorable aux citoyens britanniques
the family's repeated failure to keep their hospital appointments → la succession de rendez-vous d'hôpital manqués de cette famille, le fait que cette famille ait négligé de manière systématique de se présenter à ses rendez-vous à l'hôpital
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(= lack of success)Misserfolg m; (of campaign, efforts, negotiations, plan, experiment, marriage)Fehlschlag m, → Scheitern nt; (of undertaking, attempt)Fehlschlag m; (of application)Ablehnung f; (in exam, Theat: of play) → Misserfolg m, → Durchfall m; (of business)Eingehen nt; failure to do somethingvergeblicher Versuch, etw zu tun; failure rate (in exams) → Misserfolgsquote f; (of machine)Fehlerquote f
(= unsuccessful person)Versager(in) m(f), → Niete f (inf) (→ at in +dat); (= unsuccessful thing)Misserfolg m, → Reinfall m (inf), → Pleite f (inf); I’m a bit of a failure at making my own clothesich bin eine ziemliche Niete, wenn es darum geht, meine eigenen Kleider zu nähen (inf)
(= omission, neglect) because of his failure to reply/actweil er nicht geantwortet/gehandelt hat, weil er es versäumt or unterlassen hat zu antworten/zu handeln; his failure to notice anythingweil er nichts bemerkt hat; failure to pay will result in prosecutionim Nichteinbringungsfall erfolgt Anzeige (form); failure to perform one’s dutyNichterfüllung fseiner Pflicht; failure to appearNichterscheinen nt (form)
(of health)Verschlechterung f; (of hearing, eyesight)Nachlassen nt; (of invalid)Nachlassen ntder Kräfte
(= breakdown, of generator, engine, electricity, pump, engine) → Ausfall m; (of brakes)Versagen nt; (of supply, wind)Ausbleiben nt; heart/kidney/liver failureHerz-/Nieren-/Leberversagen nt; failure of cropsMissernte f; (complete) → Ernteausfall m
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈfeɪljəʳ] n (gen) → fallimento; (in exam) → bocciatura; (of crops) → perdita; (breakdown) → guasto, avaria; (person) → fallito/a; (omission) his failure to come/answeril fatto che non sia venuto/abbia risposto
to end in failure → fallire
it was a complete failure → è stato un vero fiasco
failure rate (gen) → numero di insuccessi (Scol) → numero di respinti
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(feil) verb
1. to be unsuccessful (in); not to manage (to do something). They failed in their attempt; I failed my exam; I failed to post the letter.
2. to break down or cease to work. The brakes failed.
3. to be insufficient or not enough. His courage failed (him).
4. (in a test, examination etc) to reject (a candidate). The examiner failed half the class.
5. to disappoint. They did not fail him in their support.
ˈfailing noun
a fault or weakness. He may have his failings, but he has always treated his children well.
if (something) fails or is lacking. Failing his help, we shall have to try something else.
ˈfailure (-jə) noun
1. the state or act of failing. She was upset by her failure in the exam; failure of the electricity supply.
2. an unsuccessful person or thing. He felt he was a failure.
3. inability, refusal etc to do something. his failure to reply.
without fail
definitely or certainly. I shall do it tomorrow without fail.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


فَشَل nezdar fiasko Versagen αποτυχία fracaso epäonnistuminen échec neuspjeh fallimento 失敗 실패 mislukking fiasko niepowodzenie fracasso неудача misslyckande ความล้มเหลว başarısızlık sự thất bại 失败
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


n. insuficiencia, fallo; omisión; fracaso;
___ neurosisneurosis de fracaso;
gross ___fiasco;
heart ______ cardíaca, fallo cardíaco;
renal ______ renal;
respiratory ______ respiratoria.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


n insuficiencia, fallo, falla, fracaso; adrenal — insuficiencia suprarrenal; congestive heart — insuficiencia cardíaca congestiva; — to thrive desmedro; (ped) retraso del crecimiento, desmedro; heart — insuficiencia cardíaca, fallo cardíaco; heart — with preserved ejection fraction insuficiencia cardíaca con fracción de eyección preservada; liver — insuficiencia hepática, fallo hepático; multisystem organ — falla multiorgánica, fallo multiorgánico; (acute, chronic) renal failure insuficiencia renal (aguda, crónica); respiratory — insuficiencia respiratoria, fallo respiratorio, falla respiratoria; treatment — fracaso terapéutico or del tratamiento
English-Spanish/Spanish-English Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
I condole with her on the inevitable failure of every plan that she has formed for her sister's benefit.
And if great things have been a failure with you, have ye yourselves therefore--been a failure?
This kiln turned out to be a failure, because it was not properly constructed or properly burned.
His companions came in great numbers to inquire after his health, and each one helped himself to a share of the food which had been placed for his use; so that he died, not from his sickness, but from the failure of the means of living.
I have given life here a fair trial, and found it a failure. I am going to make a new experiment--and it is going to be in an unexplored country.
Yes, you were dreading to have to tell me of your failure to borrow money--you were dreading to have to grieve and alarm me; but, when you saw that I came very near to smiling, the load was, I know, lifted from your heart.
More than any other event does stranding bring to the sailor a sense of utter and dismal failure. There are strandings and strandings, but I am safe to say that 90 per cent.
Many Theresas have been born who found for themselves no epic life wherein there was a constant unfolding of far-resonant action; perhaps only a life of mistakes, the offspring of a certain spiritual grandeur ill-matched with the meanness of opportunity; perhaps a tragic failure which found no sacred poet and sank unwept into oblivion.
Sometimes a bellowing infant who had clean forgotten his verse would cast himself bodily on the maternal bosom and be borne out into the open air, where he was sometimes kissed and occasionally spanked; but in any case the failure added an extra dash of gloom and dread to the occasion.
Such are the scanty details of this most disgraceful expedition; at least, such are all that Captain Bonneville had the patience to collect; for he was so deeply grieved by the failure of his plans, and so indignant at the atrocities related to him, that he turned, with disgust and horror, from the narrators.
He is very, distinctly fallible, but I think his life is not less instructive because in certain things it seems a failure. There was but one life ever lived upon the earth which was without failure, and that was Christ's, whose erring and stumbling follower Tolstoy is.
As a young man I was an evident failure, and so, having made the countersign, I was speedily transformed to my old self; and I must say that it was a most comfortable feeling, something like getting back again into an old coat or an old pair of shoes.