fallen

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fall asleep at the wheel

To fail to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; to be inattentive to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through before the deadline, but it looks like he fell asleep at the wheel. Our goalkeeper is such a nincompoop. We would have won that match if he hadn't fallen asleep at the wheel!
See also: asleep, fall, wheel

fall asleep at the switch

To fail to attend to one's responsibilities or duties; to be inattentive to that which is important or for which one is responsible. Johnson was supposed to make sure the paperwork went through before the deadline, but it looks like he fell asleep at the switch. Our goalkeeper is such a nincompoop. We would have won that match if he hadn't fallen asleep at the switch!
See also: asleep, fall, switch

fall under the spell of (someone)

To come under the influence or control of someone because one finds him or her fascinating, enchanting, or seductive. Our son has never acted out like this before. I think he must have fallen under the spell of that new friend of his. Such was the magnitude of her beauty that countless men have fallen under the spell of the duchess.
See also: fall, of, spell

fallen angel

1. An angel who has rebelled against God and has been subsequently cast out of heaven. The Bible describes Lucifer as having become a fallen angel after he desired to become God rather than be a servant of God.
2. In finance, a stock or bond that has drastically declined in value. Try to avoid investing in fallen angels—they may have been highly priced once, but they will never return to their original value.
3. A company or organization that was previously successful but is currently failing. The high school's debate team was this year's fallen angel, losing all of their competitions after being dominant last year.
See also: angel, fallen

fallen idol

Someone who is no longer respected or admired. He was so popular and loved when he was a young actor, but now that he is approaching middle age, he's a fallen idol. Nobody even talks about him anymore.
See also: fallen, idol

fallen woman

dated A woman who has lost respect because of engaging in premarital sex. Many cultures still consider females who engage in sex before they are married as fallen women and advise men against becoming involved with them.
See also: fallen, woman

fall under (someone's) spell

To come under the influence or control of someone who one finds fascinating, enchanting, or seductive. Our son has never acted out like this before. I think he must have fallen under his new friend's spell. I would normally never rush into a relationship this quickly before I fell under Janet's spell. Such was the magnitude of her beauty that countless men have fallen under the duchess's spell.
See also: fall, spell

fall down on the job

To fail to do something adequately or as expected. It was the government's duty to make sure they're citizens were protected from a financial disaster like this, but they've fallen down on the job. Jeez, what a glaring mistake. It looks like someone fell down on the job.
See also: down, fall, job, on

fall apart at the seams

1. To be approaching failure. Boy, this party is really falling apart at the seams. First, there was the issue with the caterer, and now half the guests aren't coming.
2. To become very emotional. Poor Jane really fell apart at the seams during the funeral service. I can't watch those sappy movies because I just fall apart at the seams every time.
See also: apart, fall, seam

fall apart

1. Literally, to break into pieces. Don't stand on that rickety old chair, it's liable to fall apart at any moment.
2. To be approaching failure. Boy, this party is really falling apart. First, there was the issue with the caterer, and now half the guests aren't coming.
3. To become very emotional. Poor Jane really fell apart during the funeral service. I can't watch those sappy movies because I just fall apart every time.
See also: apart, fall

fall back on (someone or something)

To depend on someone or something that one has kept in reserve. With all of these medical bills, I just don't have any more money to fall back on.
See also: back, fall, on

fall between two stools

To be caught between two things and thus unable to adequately do or accommodate both. Primarily heard in UK. I was excited to start taking night classes after work, but now, without enough time to devote either to school or to my job, I feel like I'm falling between two stools.
See also: fall, stool, two

fall by the wayside

1. To fail at something. If you don't do your homework now, it won't be long before you fall by the wayside in this class.
2. To be discarded, ignored, rejected, or set aside in favor of other considerations or more urgent matters. With the war in the Middle East intensifying, the president's plan for environmental reform has increasingly fallen by the wayside.
See also: fall, wayside

fall flat

1. To fail or be ineffective. Good luck—the last time management tried to implement a new dress code, that measure fell flat.
2. To fail to be humorous, as of a joke. A: "Unfortunately, my first stand-up routine really fell flat." B: "Well, maybe you just had the wrong audience."
See also: fall, flat

fall from grace

To do something that tarnishes one's reputation. That actor had a catastrophic fall from grace after his very public racially-charged tirade.
See also: fall, grace

fall in(to) line

1. Literally, to line up. Fall in line, kids, so we can go to gym class.
2. To conform, adhere to, or agree with that which is established or generally accepted, such as rules, beliefs, modes of behavior, etc. You might have some wild ideas for the future, but you'll never get anywhere in this business if your actions don't fall in line with your boss's expectations.
See also: fall, line

fall in love

To be completely enamored of someone or something. Tom is head over heels in love with Christina—he just won't stop gushing about her! I used to be wary of horses, but after a few lessons, I've totally fallen in love with horseback riding.
See also: fall, love

fall into place

1. To suddenly make sense. Once he explained the instructions to me more thoroughly, everything fell into place, and I was able to complete the project.
2. To produce an ideal or desired outcome. There were a lot of missteps along the way, but all of our plans have finally fallen into place.
See also: fall, place

fall off

1. To plummet downward off of something. Please be careful not to fall off the roof! I finally found my phone—it must have fallen off the bed.
2. To decline or lessen. Because this project is taking so long to complete, people's excitement about it has really fallen off.
3. To turn a ship in the direction of the wind. Captain, we need to fall off a little, so as to not hit that embankment.
See also: fall, off

fall on deaf ears

To be ignored. The hate group makes a point of holding protests outside churches and the funerals of slain soldiers, even though they know their words are likely falling on deaf ears.
See also: deaf, ear, fall, on

fall over

1. To tip over and fall to the ground. I don't know what happened—one minute, she was talking to me, and the next minute, she just fell over! I tried propping the frame up against the wall, but it must have fallen over.
2. To trip over something. How many times do I have to complain about falling over your toys before you finally clean them up?
3. To expend a lot of energy or effort to do something; to inconvenience oneself. I can't believe how ungrateful you're being, especially since we fell over ourselves planning this dinner party for you! Please don't fall over backward preparing for my visit—I'm totally prepared to sleep on your floor!
See also: fall, over

fall through

1. To physically plunge through something. Please don't stand on that rickety old chair—you're apt to fall through it!
2. To not happen as planned Oh, we're not going away next week after all—our vacation plans fell through.
See also: fall, through

fall apart (at the seams)

 and come apart at the seams 
1. . Lit. [for something] to break apart where its parts are joined. The dress fell apart at the seams. I wouldn't have thought that a coat that cost that much money would just come apart at the seams.
2. Fig. to break down mentally. Tom works too much and finally fell apart. Poor Ralph simply fell apart at the seams.
See also: apart, fall

fall between two stools

Fig. to come somewhere between two possibilities and so fail to meet the requirements of either. The material is not suitable for an academic book or for a popular one. It falls between two stools. He tries to be both teacher and friend, but falls between two stools.
See also: fall, stool, two

fall down on the job

Fig. to fail to do something properly; to fail to do one's job adequately. The team kept losing because the coach was falling down on the job. Tom was fired because he fell down on the job.
See also: down, fall, job, on

fall from grace

 
1. . Lit. to sin and get on the wrong side of God. (A Christian concept.) It was either fall from grace or starve from lack of money. That's how thieves are made. Given the choice between falling from grace and starving, few people choose to starve.
2. Fig. to do something wrong and get in trouble with someone other than God. I hear that Ted lost the Wilson contract and has fallen from grace with the boss. The accounting firm has fallen from grace and the board is looking for a new one.
See also: fall, grace

fall in love (with each other)

[for two people] to become enamored of each other. They met in school and fell in love. When they fell in love, they thought it would last forever.
See also: fall, love

fall in love (with something)

to become enamored of something. I simply fell in love with the dress. I had to have it. I fell in love with the red car and bought it at once.
See also: fall, love

fall in love (with something)

to become enamored of something. I simply fell in love with the dress. I had to have it. I fell in love with the red car and bought it at once.
See also: fall, love

fall off

to decline or diminish. Business falls off during the summer months. My interest in school fell off when I became twenty.
See also: fall, off

fall off (of something)

to drop off something. (of is usually retained before pronouns.) A button fell off my shirt. I fell off the log. The twigs fell off of him as he stood up.
See also: fall, off

fall on deaf ears

Fig. [for talk or ideas] to be ignored by the persons they were intended for. Her pleas for mercy fell on deaf ears; the judge gave her the maximum sentence. All of Sally's good advice fell on deaf ears. Walter had made up his own mind.
See also: deaf, ear, fall, on

fall over

to topple over and fall down. The fence fell over and dented the car. I felt faint and almost fell over.
See also: fall, over

fall over someone or something

to stumble over someone or something. Sam came into the house and fell over a kitchen chair. Walter fell over Roger, who was napping on the floor.
See also: fall, over

fall through

[for something, such as plans] to fail. Our party for next Saturday fell through. I hope our plans don't fall through.
See also: fall, through

fall through something

to fall and break through something. One of the skaters fell through the thin ice. A number of hailstones fell through the roof of the greenhouse.
See also: fall, through

How the mighty have fallen.

Prov. a jovial or mocking way of remarking that someone is doing something that he or she used to consider very demeaning. Jill: Ever since Fred's wife left him, he has had to cook his own meals. Jane: Well! How the mighty have fallen! When Dan lost his money, he had to sell his expensive sports car. Now he drives an ugly old sedan. How the mighty have fallen.
See also: fallen, have, how, mighty

fall apart

Collapse, break down, either physically or mentally and emotionally. For example, This chair is about to fall apart, or After his wife died, he fell apart. For synonyms for the latter usage, see come apart at the seams; go to pieces.
See also: apart, fall

fall by the wayside

Fail to continue, drop out, as in At first she did well on the tour, but with all the pressure she soon fell by the wayside . This phrase appeared in William Tyndale's translation of the New Testament (1526; Luke 8:5).
See also: fall, wayside

fall flat

Fail, prove to be ineffective, as in His jokes nearly always fell flat-no one ever laughed at them. [First half of 1800s]
See also: fall, flat

fall from grace

Experience reduced status or prestige, cease to be held in favor, as in The whole department has fallen from grace and may well be dissolved entirely. This expression originally alluded to losing the favor of God. Today it is also used more loosely, as in the example. [Late 1300s]
See also: fall, grace

fall in love

Become enamored. This expression may be used either literally, as in John and Mary fell in love on their first date, or hyperbolically, as in I fell in love with that antique chest. [First half of 1500s]
See also: fall, love

fall on deaf ears

Be ignored or disregarded, as in Any advice we give them about remodeling seems to fall on deaf ears. This expression transfers physical inability to hear to someone who does not want to listen. [1400s] Also see turn a deaf ear.
See also: deaf, ear, fall, on

fall over

See also: fall, over

fall through

Fail, miscarry, as in The proposed amendment fell through, or I hope our plans won't fall through. [Late 1700s]
See also: fall, through

a fallen angel

1. If someone is a fallen angel, they were once well-behaved, but are now badly-behaved. She went from shy posh girl to fallen angel, before going all the way to tragic heroine.
2. If a company or a sports team is a fallen angel, they were once successful, but are now unsuccessful. The firm was a fallen angel that halved in value but has since recovered.
See also: angel, fallen

fall on deaf ears

COMMON If something you say to someone, especially a request, falls on deaf ears, they take no notice of what you have said. Sadly, this appeal is likely to fall on deaf ears. The mayor spoke privately to Gibbs yesterday and asked him to resign, but his plea fell on deaf ears.
See also: deaf, ear, fall, on

fall flat

COMMON
1. If an event or an attempt to do something falls flat, it is completely unsuccessful. If the efforts fall flat and the economic situation does not change, this city can expect another riot 25 years from now. She was badly disappointed when the evening fell flat.
2. If a joke falls flat, nobody thinks it is funny. He then started trying to tell jokes to the assembled gathering. These too fell flat.
See also: fall, flat

fall from grace

COMMON Someone's fall from grace is their sudden loss of power, fame or influence as a result of a big mistake that they have made or something bad that they have done. The cause of Ms Smith's fall from grace was the same as Ms Clark's: she had once hired an illegal immigrant to look after her son. His story represents one of the most spectacular falls from grace in film history. The last two years, of course, have seen the banks' fall from grace in the eyes of the public. Note: You can also say that someone falls from grace. The band later fell from grace when it was discovered that they never sang on their own records.
See also: fall, grace

fall into place

COMMON
1. If you have been trying to understand something, and then everything falls into place, you suddenly understand it. Bits of the puzzle fell into place. He knew now who had written the letter. Note: Verbs such as click and fit can be used instead of fall. Suddenly, everything clicked into place. I could see now how to get the shot I wanted.
2. If things fall into place, events happen to produce the situation you want. As soon as I started playing in midfield everything started falling into place. All my confidence came flooding back and I ended up winning a place with England. Note: Verbs such as click and fit can be used instead of fall. We had a great time in the last couple of months when, all of a sudden, things clicked into place.
See also: fall, place

fall between two stools

or

be caught between two stools

mainly BRITISH
If someone or something falls between two stools or is caught between two stools, they are in an unsatisfactory situation because they do not belong to either of two groups, or because they are trying to do two different things at once and are failing at both. Young people on waiting lists for youth training fall between two stools. They can't get unemployment benefit, nor can they get the allowance for the scheme they're waiting to get on. Devo's problem as a band has always been that they are caught between the two stools of art and pop.
See also: fall, stool, two

fall by the wayside

COMMON
1. If someone falls by the wayside, they fail in something they are doing and give up trying to succeed in it. Players either perform well and deal with the pressure, or fall by the wayside. Only about half of this group will graduate. The rest will fall by the wayside. Note: You can also say that someone falls by the way. Various team members have fallen by the way over the years.
2. If something falls by the wayside, it fails or is forgotten about. His marriage had fallen by the wayside some years earlier. Other proposals fell by the wayside. Parties change over the years as games and dancing fall by the wayside. Note: You can also say that something falls by the way. Bullick said a number of other businesses had fallen by the way for similar reasons. Note: This expression comes from the story of the sower told by Jesus in the Bible. The seed which falls by the wayside and is eaten by birds represents the people who listen to what Jesus says, but are soon tempted by Satan and disregard what they have heard. (Mark 4:4)
See also: fall, wayside

fall on deaf ears

(of a statement or request) be ignored by others.
1990 Ellen Kuzwayo Sit Down and Listen All efforts by her husband to dissuade her from wishing to leave fell on deaf ears.
See also: deaf, ear, fall, on

fall flat

fail completely to produce the intended or expected effect.
See also: fall, flat

fall from grace

1 fall into a state of sin. 2 fall from favour.
2 1998 Martin Booth The Industry of Souls He was an officer in the local militia before he arrested a young official…for corruption and fell from grace.
See also: fall, grace

fall into place

(of a series of events or one event in a series) begin to make sense or cohere.
See also: fall, place

fall between two stools

fail to be or to take one of two satisfactory alternatives. British
This phrase comes from the proverb between two stools one falls to the ground , first referred to in English by the medieval writer John Gower in Confessio Amantis ( c .1390 ).
See also: fall, stool, two

fall by the wayside

1 fail to persist in an endeavour or undertaking. 2 be left without attention or help.
In sense 1 the phrase alludes to the biblical parable of the sower in Mark 4:3–20, and in particular to verse 4: ‘And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up’.
See also: fall, wayside

fall on deaf ˈears

(of a question, request, etc.) be ignored or not noticed: Our request for money fell on deaf ears.
See also: deaf, ear, fall, on

fall ˈflat

if a joke, a story, or an event falls flat, it completely fails to amuse people or to have the effect that was intended: I didn’t think the comedian was funny at all — most of his jokes fell completely flat.
See also: fall, flat

fall from ˈgrace

lose people’s approval, for example through a mistake or immoral behaviour: The government minister fell from grace as a result of the financial scandal.
See also: fall, grace

fall between two ˈstools

(British English) not be successful, acceptable, etc. because it is neither one thing nor another: The book falls between two stools. It’s neither a love story nor a crime story.
See also: fall, stool, two

fall by the ˈwayside

not be able to continue something that needs effort, discipline, etc.; begin to be dishonest, immoral, etc: 25 students began the course but a number have fallen by the wayside and only 12 will be taking the exam.This is from a story in the Bible in which the seeds that fell by the wayside (= by the side of a path) did not grow.
See also: fall, wayside

fall apart

v.
1. To disintegrate, collapse, or break into pieces: The rickety chair fell apart when I sat on it.
2. To suffer a nervous breakdown: The political prisoner fell apart after years in solitary confinement.
3. To lose structure or continuity: Our vacation plans fell apart because we couldn't agree on which country to visit.
See also: apart, fall

fall off

v.
1. To drop or descend from the top of something: I fell off the ladder and bruised my knee.
2. To become less; decrease: Stock prices fell off markedly, resulting in a loss for thousands of accounts. The number of staff meetings fell off after a few months as our initial enthusiasm waned. I started a new diet and the pounds fell off.
3. To lose weight. Used of livestock: Toward the end of the dry season, the cattle fall off rapidly.
4. Nautical To change course to leeward: We have a lot of pressure on the sail; let's fall off a little.
See also: fall, off

fall over

v.
1. To tip over; fall from an upright position to a flat one: The vase fell over after I bumped into the table.
2. To stumble over something or someone: I fell over the skates that you left on the stairs.
3. To attempt eagerly or frantically to accomplish something. Used reflexively: I fell over myself trying to please my guests.
See also: fall, over

fall through

v.
1. To drop through some object or surface: The skaters fell through the thin ice.
2. To fail to occur: The trip fell through due to lack of interest.
3. To fail to be carried out: Our plans fell through at the last minute.
See also: fall, through

fall between (the) two stools

To fail because of an inability to reconcile or choose between two courses of action.
See also: fall, stool, two

fall flat

1. To fail miserably when attempting to achieve a result.
2. To have no effect: The jokes fell flat.
See also: fall, flat

fall from grace

To experience a major reduction in status or prestige.
See also: fall, grace

fall on deaf ears

To go unheeded; be ignored completely: "Moscow's own familiar charges ... will also fall on deaf ears" (Foreign Affairs).
See also: deaf, ear, fall, on

fall over

backward/backwards
To overexert oneself to do or accomplish something: We fell over backward to complete the project on time.
See also: fall, over

fall over (oneself)

To display inordinate, typically effusive, enthusiasm: fell over themselves to impress the general's wife.
See also: fall, over

fall by the wayside

To fail to continue; give up.
See also: fall, wayside