9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[doun-fawl] /ˈdaʊnˌfɔl/
descent to a lower position or standing; overthrow; ruin.
something causing ruin, failure, etc.:
Liquor was his downfall.
a fall, as of rain, snow, or the like, often sudden or heavy.
a trap using a falling weight for killing, injuring, or imprisoning the prey.
Origin of downfall
1250-1300; Middle English; see down1, fall
Related forms
downfallen, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for downfall
  • Librarians planted the seeds of their own destruction and are responsible for their own downfall.
  • After rising to sublime heights, the sacred city may have engineered its own downfall.
  • The prominent horn for which rhinos are so well known has been their downfall.
  • The prominent horn for which these rhinos are so well known has also been their downfall.
  • The horns for which rhinos are so well known have been their downfall.
  • It is, after all, a poor theory that predicts its own downfall.
  • But it doesn't make sense to claim that a science story is a cause of a great nation's downfall.
  • On a broader scale, the greed in media will surely be their ultimate downfall.
  • So his personal and political downfall would hardly seem the springboard for comedy.
  • But the new strategy also planted the seeds of the firm's downfall.
British Dictionary definitions for downfall


a sudden loss of position, health, or reputation
a fall of rain, snow, etc, esp a sudden heavy one
another word for deadfall
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for downfall

"ruin, fall from high condition," c.1300, from down (adv.) + fall (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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