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fail (someone) on (something)
To give someone a failing grade on a school assignment. You clearly put zero effort into this essay—that's why I failed you on it.
fail in (something)
1. To not have high enough grades to pass a particular class. My parents got my report card and grounded me because I'm failing in two classes.
2. To not award a student a passing grade in a particular class. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "fail" and "in." I failed you in biology because you missed so many classes this semester.
3. To not be successful in an attempt to do something. So far, I've failed in my efforts to find an internship for the summer.
See also: fail
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.
To have to leave a school or university because one does not have passing grades. One B won't kill you—it's not like you're going to fail out of college or something.
In a computer system, to switch automatically to a spare, backup, or alternative component when another one fails. We've put new protocols in place to ensure that the computer will fail over to functioning memory blocks in the event of a critical error.
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.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
To be forced to leave an academic institution because of unsatisfactory grades: My cousin is failing out of law school.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.