Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia.
fail to see
To be incapable of understanding or unwilling to accept something. Mary, I fail to see what your fear of spiders has to do with your unwillingness to go on this trip. Congressman, I fail to see how your opponent, as you claim, is in any way responsible for the economic slump in your state.
fall at the first hurdle
To fail to accomplish some task or goal at the very beginning of the attempt. John had his business plan all laid out, but he fell at the first hurdle when the bank refused to grant him a loan.
fall at the final hurdle
To fail to accomplish some task or goal at the very end of the attempt. Negotiations between the two warring countries fell at the final hurdle due to disagreements over cross-border taxation.
fall at the last hurdle
To fail to accomplish some task or goal at the very end of the attempt. Negotiations between the two warring countries fell at the last hurdle due to disagreements over cross-border taxation.
A hypothetical test meant to measure whether or not some question or thing provokes discernible embarrassment, discomfiture, or displeasure in a person. The old red-face test is a simple but subtle way of telling which employees are the most honest and work the hardest. Well, my proposal didn't pass the red-face test with the boss. I guess we can kiss that idea goodbye.
See also: test
fail the smell test
To be morally questionable, unacceptable, or untrustworthy. The new pro-drilling bill that's being put through Congress certainly fails the smell test, and many are suspicious that Big Oil has been responsible for its inception.
day in, day out, every day without fail
A phrase used to describe something that happens routinely or regularly. Day in, day out, every day without fail, I pass that same woman walking her dog. My mom started driving us to school because we would miss the bus day in, day out, every day without fail.
fail at life
slang To fail in a way that is exaggeratedly likened to one's entire life being a failure. I can't believe I blew my audition! Ugh, I fail at life. I overheard you struggling to ask Kim to the prom, and, yeah, you fail at life, dude.
fail of success
To not reach a goal or accomplishment. I know you worked hard on the fundraiser, so I'm really sorry to hear that you failed of success. After not making the team last year, I'm really hoping I don't fail of success this time around.
1. An exclamation, perhaps of annoyance or frustration, when something has gone wrong. I called him Mark, but apparently his name is Steven. Ugh, fail! I tried to bake a cake for my sister's birthday, but I accidentally used salt instead of sugar. Fail.
2. noun A mistake or blunder. Something that has gone wrong. I called him Mark, but apparently his name is Steven! What a fail. I tried to bake a cake for my sister's birthday, but I accidentally used salt instead of sugar, and it was a big fail.
An especially big or embarrassing blunder. I can't believe I called the CEO by the wrong name! What an epic fail. I tried to bake a cake for my sister's birthday, but I accidentally used salt instead of sugar. Epic fail.
fail in something
to have not earned passing or satisfactory grades in some school subject. George is failing in geometry. I hope I do not fail in math.
See also: fail
fail someone on something
to give someone an unsatisfactory grade on an assignment or test. She failed us all on the math assignment. The teacher failed half the class on the assignment.
something never fails
a particular thing always works. My old folk remedy for hiccups never fails.
for certain; absolutely. I'll be there at noon without fail. The plane leaves on time every day without fail.
if all else fails
if nothing succeeds Miki spoke a little English, I used a lot of hand signals, and if all else failed, we would look in a phrase book.
certain to happen Sarah sends me a card on my birthday without fail.
if all else fails
if nothing succeeds If all else fails, we can always spend the weekend at home. You should try to discuss this with your employer, but if all else fails, you need to speak to a lawyer.
if all else fails
if you decide that you will do something if all else fails, you decide that that is what you will do if none of your ideas or plans succeed Well, if all else fails you'll just have to get a part-time job to earn a bit of extra money.
1. if something happens without fail, it always happens Every Tuesday afternoon, without fail, Helga went to visit her father.
2. something that you say in order to emphasize that something will be done or will happen 'You will meet me at the airport, won't you?' 'Don't worry, I'll be there without fail.'
Words fail me!
something that you say when you are so surprised or shocked by something that you do not know what to say about it 'So what do you think about that purple outfit Olive's wearing?' 'Words fail me!'See mark my words, have to eat words, mince words
For certain, as in That check will arrive tomorrow morning without fail. This idiom today is used mainly to strengthen a statement. [Early 1700s]
words fail me
I can't put my thoughts or feelings into words, especially because of surprise or shock, as in When she showed up at the wedding with all three ex-husbands-well, words fail me. [Second half of 1900s]
1. To fail to achieve some goal or effort: I am failing in all of my attempts to win the contest.
2. To achieve unsatisfactory grades in an academic subject: Because I am failing in math, I am seeing a tutor.
3. To give someone an unsatisfactory grade in an academic subject: My teacher failed me in algebra despite my hard work.
See also: fail
To be forced to leave an academic institution because of unsatisfactory grades: My cousin is failing out of law school.
With no chance of failure: Be here at noon without fail.