We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out moreJump to Main NavigationJump to Content
  • Text size: A
  • A

downfalling, n.

Frequency (in current use): 
Origin: Formed within English, by derivation. Etymons: down- prefix, falling n.1

 1. The action of falling down; esp. decline in power, status, or prosperity; downfall, demise.

c1330  (?a1300)    Arthour & Merlin (Auch.) (1973) l. 9905   When fel þat on Þe oþer vp stert..And him defended..Often þai made dounfalleing.
c1375  (?c1280)    Birth Jesus (Egerton) l. 903 in C. Horstmann Altengl. Legenden (1875) 1st Ser. 101 (MED)   Þis child is iset as in doun vallinge To monie men in isrl, & to monie in vprisinge.
a1400   Psalter (Vesp.) li. 4 in C. Horstmann Yorkshire Writers (1896) II. 184   Þou loued alle wordes of dounfallinge [L. praecipitationis].
a1425  (a1400)    Prick of Conscience (Galba & Harl.) (1863) l. 6576   Hate teres of gretyng, Þat þe synful sal scalden in þe dounfallyng.
1517   in J. B. Paul Accts. Treasurer Scotl. (1903) V. 120   Item, to xij werkmen reddand and berand the fallin grunmale and erd at the down falling of the ij gret gestis in David Tour.
1612   E. Chetwynd Votiuæ Lachrymæ 11   If any yet shall doubt, whether we haue reason to reckon him so, as to esteeme his losse the downe-falling of our Crowne.
1699   tr. M. Ettmüller Etmullerus Abridg'd v. 638   A Tenesmus or Down-falling of the Anus is cur'd by Fumigations of Pine-tree-Rosin, Sarcocolla, Bay-berries and Fennel-seeds.
1826   E. Irving Babylon II. vi. 97   He sent..Jeremiah..before the downfalling of destruction.
1872   Wyoming Post 14 Sept.   A deafening crash, like the uprooting and downfalling of ten thousand forest giants, and with it a sheet of flame.
1963   Tucson (Arizona) Daily Citizen 20 Feb. 30/2   Your daughter's downfalling started with her friendship.
2002   Courier-Mail (Brisbane) (Nexis) 14 Dec. l16   It now lay on the floor, baubles and silver thread strewn all around it. I'd be blamed for its downfalling, I knew.

c1330—2002(Hide quotations)


 2. Chiefly Sc. The setting of the sun; the closing of the day; the onset of night. rare after 16th cent.

1422   in W. Fraser Stirlings of Keir (1858) 208   Be-twys the ryssyng of the sonne of a day, and the down fallyng.
1465   in W. Fraser Scotts of Buccleuch (1878) II. 66   A day betuix the son rising and the doune falling of that ilk.
1531   J. Bellenden tr. H. Boece Chron. Scotl. (1941) II. xiii. x. 217   The ȝere afoir his deth twa comettis apperitt... The tane of þame schayne ay afoir þe son, and þe tothir afoir his dounfalling.
1534   G. Joye tr. U. Zwingli Dauids Psalter sig. Z.iiv   From the sone rysing vnto the downe falling, loaued be the name of the Lorde.
1581   in J. D. Marwick Extracts Rec. Burgh Edinb. (1882) IV. 194   Allegeand that in dawning and downfalling of the nicht thai suffir all forbiddin guidis..to pas furth at the portis.
1997   Kenyon Rev. 19 19   He was moving like a dancer in his dance, momentum carrying him across the downfalling of the day.

1422—1997(Hide quotations)


This entry has been updated (OED Third Edition, December 2018).