failure

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Related to failures: fails

abysmal failure

Failure that is total and extreme in measure or implication. The business was an abysmal failure, and everyone was out of a job within a month.
See also: failure

give (someone) heart failure

To shock, frighten, or upset someone suddenly and to an extreme degree. Often used with "nearly," "almost," or some similar modifier. Adrian almost gave his parents heart failure when he told them he was dropping out of college. You about gave me heart failure, sneaking up on me like that!
See also: failure, give, heart

failure to thrive

A medical term used to describe an infant or young child who has experienced delays in physical growth, for a variety of possible reasons. I'm a bit concerned about little Howie's failure to thrive, so I want you to bring him back the office next week for further examination.
See also: failure, thrive

give someone heart failure

Frighten or startle someone very much, as in You nearly gave me heart failure when you told me you were quitting. It is also put as have heart failure, meaning "be frightened or startled," as in I just about had heart failure when I heard about her accident. These hyperbolic terms allude to the life-threatening physical condition in which the heart fails to pump blood at an adequate rate or stops altogether. Also see heart misses a beat.
See also: failure, give, heart
References in classic literature ?
Merton's was a bad, disgraceful failure, and I don't wonder he had a fit.
It is painful, at all times, to see a grand and beneficial stroke of genius fall of its aim: but we regret the failure of this enterprise in a national point of view; for, had it been crowned with success, it would have redounded greatly to the advantage and extension of our commerce.
The failure of this last kiln left me without a single dollar with which to make another experiment.
The complaints that morning were especially emphatic and numerous, because the whole breakfast had been a failure.
I admit that I have made a great failure of my life.
I will, besides, try to convert everything into an artificial help, even the heat and the ashes of my pipe, and lastly, we, or rather you, will keep in reserve the third sucker as our last resource, in case our first two experiments should prove a failure.
Holker was so profoundly affected by that possible failure of justice that he involuntarily stopped in the middle of the road, then resumed his walk with abated zeal.
Garrick did what he could with the play, but it was a failure, and although Johnson continued to believe that it was good, he wrote no more tragedies.
Johnson's play was a failure, but by that time he had begun the great work which was to name him and single him out from the rest of the world as Dictionary Johnson.
The third guess was another failure, and so was the fourth and the fifth.
It always happened with Levin that when his first shots were a failure he got hot and out of temper, and shot badly the whole day.
And in the absence of Vassenka, on whom Levin threw the blame of his failure, things went no better.
I condole with her on the inevitable failure of every plan that she has formed for her sister's benefit.
After this great success, which he supposed to be a failure, he gave them 'Mr Chivery and his brother officers;' whom he had beforehand presented with ten pounds each, and who were all in attendance.
In the yard, was the man of many children and many burdens, whose failure astonished everybody; in the yard, was the man of no children and large resources, whose failure astonished nobody.