a. The decline of a person or thing from a position of high standing to one of ruin; ignominy, defeat, or obsolescence; a loss of power, prosperity, or status.
b. The cause of a decline in power, prosperity, or status; something or someone that brings about ruin or prevents the achievement of an ambition or success. Now also in weakened sense: something or someone a person is unable to resist; a weakness.
a. The action or fact of falling or descending from an elevated position, esp. by force of gravity; an instance of this.
b. The action of falling to the ground from an upright position; (with reference to a person) an instance of falling over as a result of tripping, stumbling, etc.; (with reference to a building) the action of collapsing.
c. A decrease in the amount, quantity, or extent of something; a reduction in price.
3. A steep downward slope; an abyss, gulf.
†a. Something that has fallen down; a ruin, a piece of debris. Obsolete.
b. U.S. As a mass noun: fallen trees, branches, etc.
†a. A torrent or cascade of water, esp. one falling from a height as part of a river or stream; a waterfall. Obsolete.
b. Brit. A fall of precipitation from the sky as rain, snow, or hail, esp. when sudden and heavy; a downpour; (also) the fallen water amassing through this process.
6. Any of various types of trap designed to kill or capture prey by falling on or over the animal; esp. a deadfall (deadfall n. 1a). Now rare.
C1. General attributive, with the sense ‘that is falling or has fallen down, descending’.
downfall water n. now rare water that has fallen in the form of rain.
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