• WordNet 3.6
    • n downfall failure that results in a loss of position or reputation
    • n downfall a sudden decline in strength or number or importance "the fall of the House of Hapsburg"
    • n downfall the falling to earth of any form of water (rain or snow or hail or sleet or mist)
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Downfall A sudden descent from rank or state, reputation or happiness; destruction; ruin; as, the senator's unrestrained sexual escapades led to his downfall . "Dire were the consequences which would follow the downfall of so important a place."
    • Downfall A sudden fall; a body of things falling. "Those cataracts or downfalls aforesaid.""Each downfall of a flood the mountains pour."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n downfall A falling downward; a fall; descent: as, the downfall of a stream.
    • n downfall What falls downward; a waterfall.
    • n downfall A pit; an abyss.
    • n downfall Descent or fall to a lower position or standing; complete failure or overthrow; ruin: as, the downfall of Napoleon.
    • n downfall Waning; decay.
    • n downfall A kind of trap in which a weight or missile falls down when the set is sprung; a deadfall. See the extract.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • Downfall fall, failure, humiliation, ruin: a falling down, as of rain
    • ***


  • Napoleon Bonaparte
    “My downfall raises me to infinite heights.”
  • Bill Earle
    Bill Earle
    “If your outgo exceeds your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall.”


Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A corr. of M. E. a-dawn, adun—A.S. of dúne, 'from the hill'—A.S. dún, a hill.


In literature:

The touch, the choke in her voice, brought about Viviette's downfall.
"Viviette" by William J. Locke
After the downfall of the Egyptian Empire, a native tribe, the Jebusites, had moved into the deserted city.
"Ancient Man" by Hendrik Willem van Loon
With the downfall of the Pope's temporal power, comes the report that several newspapers have been established in the Eternal City.
"Punchinello Vol. II., No. 30, October 22, 1870" by Various
It will be the first step towards your own downfall.
"The Czar's Spy" by William Le Queux
The country that pursues such a policy must, sooner or later, meet with a downfall.
"Home as Found" by James Fenimore Cooper
With the downfall of Rome there came another interval in which the Church was weak, and was trampled on by barbarians, and was heroic.
"The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 5" by Various
It was utter downfall; she sank into an abyss.
"Fruitfulness Fecondite" by Emile Zola
The Count de Sarrion had passed through both and had emerged half cynical, half indifferent from the slough of an evil woman's downfall.
"The Velvet Glove" by Henry Seton Merriman
Having changed his politics, he was no longer the friend of Robert and was willing to aid in his downfall.
"The Real America in Romance, Volume 6;" by John R. Musick
Meanwhile Harley pursued his intrigues to effect the downfall of the Duchess.
"Beacon Lights of History, Volume VII" by John Lord

In poetry:

I know that farewell was our last,
That life and love from me are past;
For I have heard the fated sign
That speaks the downfall of our line.
"The Troubadour. Canto 2" by Letitia Elizabeth Landon
The fool's the downfal of her race,
The wise-one e'en may cities raise,
The fool will make her husband sigh,
The wise will lift up her's on high.
"Advice To A Young Man, Before He Goes A Courting" by Rees Prichard
"What was the reason of her taking to drink?"
"Bless yer honour, that's jest what I oftentimes think,
Some things is done without any rason at all,
And, sure, this one to me is a great downfall.
"The Troubles of Matthew Mahoney" by William Topaz McGonagall
But these maneuverings to avoid
The touching of hands,
These shifts to keep the eyes employed
On objects more or less neutral
(As honor, for time being, commands) Will hardly prevent their downfall.
"Love's Strategems" by Donald Justice
"Then huzza for the Party that here is at rest,
"By the fools of a faction regretted and blest;
"Though they sleep with the Devil, yet theirs is the "hope,
"On the downfall of Britain to rise with the Pope."
"All The Talents" by George Canning
At eve they all assembled, all care and doubt were fled;
With jovial laugh they feasted, the board was nobly spread.
The elder of the village rose up, his glass in hand,
And cried, "We drink the downfall of an accursed land!
"A Legend of Bregenz" by Adelaide Anne Procter

In news:

Sandusky was sentenced Tuesday to at least 30 years in prison, effectively a life sentence, in the child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno's downfall.
Sandusky was sentenced to at least 30 years in prison, effectively a life sentence, in the child sexual abuse scandal that brought shame to Penn State and led to coach Joe Paterno's downfall.
A federal judge on Thursday sentenced former Lincoln County commissioner Thomas Ramey to 21 months in prison, bringing to a close a years-long voting fraud investigation that led to the downfall of three county officials.
Cycling Enthusiast Reflects on Lance Armstrong's Downfall, as More Companies End Sponsorships.
Cream / Moving Pictures Linear Downfall Joins The Flaming Lips' Record-Breaking Tour in Baton Rouge, Covers King Crimson.
0It appears a set of Halloween pictures contributed to the downfall of one of the nation's largest foreclosure mills and an Auburn woman says she's ecstatic.
Downfall of a Spanish dynasty For the first time, inbreeding theory is examined from a genetic perspective.
We already know texting while driving is bad, but new research seems to indicate that even before kids are old enough to get behind the wheel, texting might have another downfall: it's making their grammar worse.
Corporate greed , not labor wages led to Maytag downfall.
The scenes that led to the Bellagio bandit's downfall look less like "Ocean's Eleven" and more like "America's Dumbest Criminals.
His 2002 book "Inside Hitler 's Bunker" was the basis for the commercially successful German film "Downfall.
Boston icon Akrobatik appeared on stage at Chuck D's request and unleashed a rhyme that took aim at skinny jeans, corporate pimps, fantasies sold for profit and other evidence of hip hop 's downfall.
My Part in His Downfall.
Petraeus' downfall: Hubris meets high tech.
In Petraeus downfall, hubris meets high tech.

In science:

Goldhirsch & Noskovicz ) and downfal ls for Douady, Shiryaev & Yor ).
On the adjustment coefficient, drawdowns and Lundberg-type bounds for random walk
The downfall of the top-down scenario of structure formation, and the fact that no evidence for neutrino masses existed before Super-Kamiokande detected oscillations of atmospheric neutrinos in 1998, makes it understandable that there was very little continuous interest in this sub-field.
Weighing Neutrinos with Large-Scale Structure
The downfall of the top-down ‘Hot Dark Matter’ scenario of structure formation, and the lack of evidence for neutrino masses from terrestrial experiments made this model unpopular.
Conference Summary: Astronomy Perspective of Astro-Statistics
Perhaps one of paper’s biggest downfalls is its environmental impact.
Examining Motivations behind Paper Usage in Academia
It was the downfall of Galileo that the ‘new science’ had new physical laws that could not be derived by logical extension or verified by mathematical proof.
Multivector Solutions to the Hyper-Holomorphic Massive Dirac Equation