fall off

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See also: falloff and fall-off



fall off (third-person singular simple present falls off, present participle falling off, simple past fell off, past participle fallen off)

  1. (transitive and intransitive) To become detached or to drop from.
    A button fell off my coat.
    • 1900, L. Frank Baum, chapter 23, in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz:
      Dorothy stood up and found she was in her stocking-feet. For the Silver Shoes had fallen off in her flight through the air, and were lost forever in the desert.
  2. (intransitive) To diminish in size, value, etc.
    Business always falls off in the winter.
    MC ___'s new album is wack - he's fallen off big-time.
  3. (nautical) To change the direction of the sail so as to point in a direction that is more down wind; to bring the bow leeward.
    • 1846, Melville, Typee, chapter 1
      'Why d'ye see, Captain Vangs,' says bold Jack, 'I'm as good a helmsman as ever put hand to spoke; but none of us can steer the old lady now. We can't keep her full and bye, sir; watch her ever so close, she will fall off and then, sir, when I put the helm down so gently, and try like to coax her to the work, she won't take it kindly, but will fall round off again; and it's all because she knows the land is under the lee, sir, and she won't go any more to windward.'
    • 1854, Benjamin Robbins Curtis, Lawrence v. Minturn, Opinion of the Court
      She would not mind her helm, but would fall off; she would settle down aft and take in water over her stern, and plunged heavily forward.
    • 1898, Kipling, The Burning of the Sarah Sands:
      There was the constant danger of the ship, now- broadside on to the heavy seas, falling off before the heavy wind, and leading the flames forward again.


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