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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.
See also: fail, on

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.
See also: fail, of, success

fail out

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.
See also: fail, out

fail over

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.
See also: fail, over

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.
See also: fail, smell, test

words fail (one)

One is too surprised, upset, or intensely emotional to articulate one's thoughts or sentiments coherently. I really wanted to convey how much it meant to me to have my entire family there, but words failed me. And to think that you would risk your whole future by drinking and then getting behind the wheel of a car—well, words fail me! A: "Words failed us when we found out Jane was pregnant." B: "Same here. She and her boyfriend have only been back together for about five minutes!"
See also: fail, word
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

fail out

To be forced to leave an academic institution because of unsatisfactory grades: My cousin is failing out of law school.
See also: fail, out
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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
April 8, 2010: Three offences failing to ensure a child attends school.
Stuart Grundy, aged 32, of Woodway Lane, Woodway Park, Coventry, driving without a test certificate, failing to produce a test certificate, fined pounds 75.
There's a reason why NCLB is causing so many more schools to be labeled as failing (some 26,000 schools, or one in four nationwide, failed state standards this year and face sanctions if they do so again next year).
Michael Martin McCaughan, aged 23, of Pandora Road, Walsgrave, Coventry, two charges of failing to comply with a community order, community order to continue with an extra 60 hours imposed.
In exchange for a significant increase in federal funding, the new law demands that failing (or "persistently unsafe") schools give parents new transfer options and cover the costs of transportation to another school.
Donald Burn, aged 72, of Sutton Avenue, Eastern Green, Coventry, being the owner of a vehicle the driver which was alleged to have been guilty of an offence and failing to identify the driver, exceeding the speed limit, fined pounds 100.
Penalty for failing to maintain investor lists: The AJCA modifies the penalty for failing to maintain an investor list, by making it time sensitive.
The lofty goal of Title I has been to improve the basic and advanced skills of students who are at risk of failing in school.
John Millar, aged 31, of Dane Road, Stoke, Coventry, driving with an incorrect licence, failing to produce a licence, using a vehicle without insurance, failing to produce a certificate of insurance, using a vehicle without a test certificate, failing to produce a test certificate, fined pounds 350 and licence endorsed.
Path manager software could add dynamic pathing capabilities by identifying a failing switch or NBA and immediately shunting the data into a working path.
The Ninth Circuit has now joined two other circuits in saying "yes." In Van Camp & Bennion, 6/6/01, the IRS assessed depositary and late-payment penalties against a law firm for failing to remit employment taxes over a three-year period.
My predecessor had been forced to resign after failing nearly half his students.
Daren Ian Paul Kelly, aged 32, of Lincoln Street, Foleshill, Coventry, two counts of failing to comply with a community rehabilitation order, fined pounds 20.
Applications that migrate from a failing node to a backup node may require that application's data to be available on both nodes.