"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[bih-fawl] /bɪˈfɔl/
verb (used without object), befell, befallen, befalling.
to happen or occur.
Archaic. to come, as by right.
verb (used with object), befell, befallen, befalling.
to happen to, especially by chance or fate.
Origin of befall
before 900; Middle English befallen, Old English befeallan. See be-, fall (v.)
1. bechance, ensue, betide, materialize, chance. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for befell
  • She is a fighter, and never gave up no matter what hardship befell her.
  • It befell after on a day that this knight talked with this lady, and secretly uttered his desire to her.
  • Something of the same kind befell me a few days after.
  • Emanuel and his colleagues aren't sure which disaster befell the dinosaurs.
  • The rest of the time he mostly took over when some disaster befell the starting pitcher.
  • No matter what befell him, his goal always was to return to her.
  • Shortly after this exploit, tragedy befell the program.
  • Presumably, the oven was periodically reconstructed, when disasters of this sort befell it.
British Dictionary definitions for befell


verb (archaic or literary) -falls, -falling, -fell, -fallen
(intransitive) to take place; come to pass
(transitive) to happen to
(intransitive) usually foll by to. to be due, as by right
Word Origin
Old English befeallan; related to Old High German bifallan, Dutch bevallen; see be-, fall
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for befell



Old English befeallan "to deprive of; fall to, be assigned to; befall," from be- "by, about" + feallan (see fall). Cf. Old Frisian bifalla, Old Saxon, Old High German bifallan, German befallen. Related: Befell; befalling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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