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From Middle English misfallen, equivalent to mis- +‎ fall. Cognate with Dutch misvallen (to misfall, miss in falling, displease, miscarry), German missfallen (to displease), Icelandic misfalla (to misuse).


misfall (third-person singular simple present misfalls, present participle misfalling, simple past misfell, past participle misfallen)

  1. (transitive, intransitive) To befall badly or incorrectly; happen unfortunately (to); mishappen; turn out badly.
    • 1596, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. [], part II (books IV–VI), London: [] [Richard Field] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 932900760, book V, canto VI, stanza 4, page 257:
      Sometime ſhe feared, leaſt ſome hard miſhap / Had him misfalne in his aduenturous queſt; [...]
    • 1889, Henry Morley, Early prose romances:
      [...] let us abide together that, one with the counsel and that other with the deed, then may there nothing misfall to usward.
    • 2009, Eric B. Hare, Skyscrapers:
      However, the principal and his students worked hard, and they soon had the buildings in shape for use and the farm doing as well as possible. Then a terrible misfortune misfell one of the neighbors who was most bitter in his tirades.


misfall (plural misfalls)

  1. A mishap; accident; bad luck; misfortune.
    • 1875, Julian Hawthorne, Saxon studies:
      But alas! an unlooked- for misfall has occurred."