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Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [1]

A — 1: Ἐκλείπω (Strong'S #1587 — Verb — ekleipo — ek-li'-po )

"to leave out" (ek, "out," leipo, "to leave"), used intransitively, means "to leave off, cease, fail;" it is said of the cessation of earthly life,  Luke 16:9; of faith,  Luke 22:32; of the light of the sun,  Luke 23:45 (in the best mss.); of the years of Christ,   Hebrews 1:12 .

A — 2: Ἐπιλείπω (Strong'S #1952 — Verb — epileipo — ep-ee-li'-po )

"not to suffice for a purpose" (epi, over), is said of insufficient time, in  Hebrews 11:32 .

A — 3: Πίπτω (Strong'S #4098 — Verb — pipto — pip'-to, pet'-o )

"to fall," is used of the Law of God in its smallest detail, in the sense of losing its authority or ceasing to have force,  Luke 16:17 . In  1—Corinthians 13:8 it is used of love (some mss. have ekpipto, "to fall off"). See Fall.

 1—Corinthians 13:8 Hebrews 12:15 Luke 21:26Faint.

B — 1: Ἀνέκλειπτος (Strong'S #413 — Adjective — anekleiptos — an-ek'-lipe-tos )

"unfailing" (a, negative, and A, No. 1), is rendered "that faileth not," in  Luke 12:33 . In a Greek document dated A.D. 42, some contractors undertake to provide "unfailing" heat for a bath during the current year (Moulton and Milligan, Vocab.).

King James Dictionary [2]

Fail, L fallo Gr. whence Eng. felony. It seems to be allied to fall, fallow, pale, and many other words.

1. To become deficient to be insufficient to cease to be abundant for supply or to be entirely wanting. We say, in a dry season, the springs and streams fail, or are failing, before they are entirely exhausted. We say also, the springs failed, when they entirely ceased to flow. Crops fail wholly or partially. 2. To decay to decline to sink to be diminished. We say of a sick person, his strength fails daily. 3. To decline to decay to sink to become weaker as, the patient fails every hour. 4. To be extinct to cease to be entirely wanting to be no longer produced.

Help, Lord, for the godly man ceaseth for the faithful fail from among the children of men.  Psalms 12 .

5. To be entirely exhausted to be wanting to cease from supply.

Money failed in the land of Egypt.  Genesis 47 .

6. To cease to perish to be lost.

Lest the remembrance of his grief should fail.

7. To die.

They shall all fail together.  Isaiah 31 .

8. To decay to decline as, the sight fails in old age. 9. To become deficient or wanting as, the heart or the courage fails. 10. To miss not to produce the effect. the experiment was made with care, but failed, or failed to produce the effect, or failed of the effect. 11. To be deficient in duty to omit or neglect. the debtor failed to fulfil his promise. 12. To miss to miscarry to be frustrated or disappointed. The enemy attacked the fort, but failed in his design, or failed of success. 13. To be neglected to fall short not to be executed. the promises of a man of probity seldom fail.

The soul or the spirit fails, when a person is discouraged. The eyes fail, when the desires and expectations are long delayed, and the person is disappointed.

14. To become insolvent or bankrupt. When merchants and traders fail, they are said to become bankrupt. When other men fail, they are said to become insolvent.


1. To desert to disappoint to cease or to neglect or omit to afford aid, supply or strength. it is said, fortune never fails the brave. Our friends sometimes fail us, when we most need them. The aged attempt to walk, when their limbs fail them. In bold enterprises, courage should never fail the hero. 2. to omit not to perform.

The inventive God, who never fails his part.

3. to be wanting to.

There shall never fail thee a man on the throne.  1 Kings 2 .

In the transitive use of this verb there is really an ellipsis of from or to, or other word. In strictness, the verb is not transitive, and the passive particple is, I believe, never used.

FAIL, n. Omission non-performance.

1. He will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites.  Joshua 3 . 2. Miscarriage failure deficience want death.

In these senses little used.

Webster's Dictionary [3]

(1): ( v. i.) Death; decease.

(2): ( v. i.) To err in judgment; to be mistaken.

(3): ( v. i.) To come short of a result or object aimed at or desired; to be baffled or frusrated.

(4): ( v. i.) To be wanting; to fall short; to be or become deficient in any measure or degree up to total absence; to cease to be furnished in the usual or expected manner, or to be altogether cut off from supply; to be lacking; as, streams fail; crops fail.

(5): ( v. i.) To be affected with want; to come short; to lack; to be deficient or unprovided; - used with of.

(6): ( v. i.) To fall away; to become diminished; to decline; to decay; to sink.

(7): ( v. i.) To deteriorate in respect to vigor, activity, resources, etc.; to become weaker; as, a sick man fails.

(8): ( v. i.) To perish; to die; - used of a person.

(9): ( v. i.) To be found wanting with respect to an action or a duty to be performed, a result to be secured, etc.; to miss; not to fulfill expectation.

(10): ( v. i.) Miscarriage; failure; deficiency; fault; - mostly superseded by failure or failing, except in the phrase without fail.

(11): ( v. i.) To become unable to meet one's engagements; especially, to be unable to pay one's debts or discharge one's business obligation; to become bankrupt or insolvent.

(12): ( v. t.) To be wanting to; to be insufficient for; to disappoint; to desert.

(13): ( v. t.) To miss of attaining; to lose.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [4]

fāl ( כּלה , kālāh , כּרת , kārath  ; ἐκλείπω , ekleı́pō ): "Fail" is both intransitive, "to fall short," "be wanting," and trans, "to be wanting to."

Of the many words translated "fail" in the Old Testament, kālāh is the most frequent, meaning "to be consumed," "ended" ( Job 11:20;  Job 17:5;  Psalm 69:3;  Psalm 71:9 , etc.;  Proverbs 22:8;  Isaiah 15:6 , etc.;  Jeremiah 14:6;  Lamentations 2:11;  Lamentations 3:22;  Lamentations 4:17 ); it is the translation of kārath , "to be cut off" ( 2 Samuel 3:29 , of failure in succession; so  1 Kings 2:4 , etc.); ‛ādhar , "to marshal," "to be missed" or "lacking" ( Isaiah 34:16 the King James Version;   Isaiah 40:26 the King James Version;   Isaiah 59:15 the King James Version;   Zephaniah 3:5 ); of rāphāh , "to become faint" or "to make feeble" ( Deuteronomy 31:6 ,  Deuteronomy 31:8; "I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee,"  Joshua 1:5;  1 Chronicles 28:20 ); of 'ābhadh , "to perish," "be lost" ( Psalm 142:4 , "Refuge hath failed me";  Ezekiel 12:22 , "Every vision faileth"). Many other Hebrew words are translated "fail," "faileth," for the most part in single instances.

In the New Testament, ekleipō , "to leave out" or "off," is thrice rendered "fail" ( Luke 16:9 "when it shall fail";   Luke 22:32 , "that thy faith fail not";  Hebrews 1:12 , "Thy years shall not fail"); ekpı́ptō , "to fall off or away" ( 1 Corinthians 13:8 , "Charity (the Revised Version (British and American) "love") never faileth"); katargéō , "to make useless" ( 1 Corinthians 13:8 the King James Version, "Whether prophecies, they shall fail"); husteréō , "to be behind," "to lack" ( Hebrews 12:15 the King James Version); apopsúchō , "to swoon away," "failing" ( Luke 21:26 the King James Version).

The Revised Version (British and American) has "fail," in a new translation of  Jeremiah 18:14 , for "fall" ( Lamentations 1:14 , margin "stumble"); "his hand fail" for "fallen in decay" ( Leviticus 25:35 ); "I will in no wise fail thee" for "I will never leave thee" ( Hebrews 13:5; compare  Deuteronomy 31:6;  Joshua 1:5 ); "failed to enter" for "entered not" ( Hebrews 4:6 ); "faileth" (American Standard Revised Version) for "ceaseth" ( Psalm 49:8 ), the English Revised Version "must be let alone for ever"; "failing" for "was darkened" ( Luke 23:45 ); for "fail" ( Ezra 4:22 ), "be slack," "be missing" ( Isaiah 34:16 ); "falleth short of" ( Hebrews 12:15 , maqrgin, "falleth bacf from"); for "failed," "was all spent" ( Genesis 47:15 ); "wholly" ( Joshua 3:16 ); "fail (in looking)" ( Lamentations 4:17 ); for "faileth," "is lacking" ( Isaiah 40:26;  Isaiah 59:15 ); for "men's hearts failing them" ( Luke 21:26 ), "men fainting," margin "expiring."