(New American Roget's College Thesaurus)
1. failure, unsuccessfulness, nonsuccess, nonfulfillment; dead failure, abortion, miscarriage, malfunction, outage; bankruptcy (see nonpayment); labor in vain; no go; inefficacy; vain or abortive attempt, slip 'twixt cup and lip; no-win situation. See insufficiency, neglect.
2. mistake (see error); mess, fiasco, breakdown, collapse, fall, crash, downfall, ruin, perdition, grief; bankruptcy; wild-goose chase; losing game; non pass. Informal, has-been. Slang, flop, turkey, bomb, washout, glitch, nose dive, tailspin.
3. (total defeat) rebuff, defeat, rout, debacle, beating, drubbing; checkmate, stalemate. Informal, death knell.
4. (one who fails) also-ran, flash in the pan; underdog; house of cards, dud; bankrupt, insolvency, Chapter 11. Informal, bust, lemon, loser, dud, schlemiel. Slang, flop, goner.
1. fail, be unsuccessful, not succeed; labor or toil in vain; lose one's labor; bring to naught, make nothing of; roll the stone of Sisyphus; do by halves; lose ground (see regression); fall short of. Informal, peter out, achieve a deficiency. Slang, flop, not get to first base, crumb it, go belly-up, stiff.
2. (fail to accomplish a goal) miss, miss one's aim, miss the boat or bus, miss the mark, miss by a mile, bite off more than one can chew; make a slip, blunder (see error); make a mess of; miscarry, misfire, hang fire, backfire, abort; go up like a rocket and come down like a stick; reckon without one's host, back the wrong horse. Informal, blow. Slang, bollix up, botch.
3. (deteriorate) limp, hobble; fall, lose one's balance; overreach oneself; flounder, falter; stick in the mud, run aground; tilt at windmills; come up against a stone wall; burn one's fingers; break one's back; break down, sink, go under, drown, founder, have the ground cut from under one; get into trouble, get into a mess or scrape; come to grief (see adversity); go to the wall, go under, go to the dogs, go to pot.
4. be defeated, bite the dust, take it on the chin, meet one's Waterloo, have the worst of it, lose the day; come off second best, bring up the rear, lose, lose out; succumb, buckle, drop or fall by the wayside; not have a leg to stand on. Informal, flunk [out]; have two strikes against one, haul down one's colors. Slang, fall down on, lay an egg, fold up, throw in the sponge or towel, take a dive, bath, tumble, or fall, toss.
5. come to nothing or naught, end in smoke; go bankrupt, close its doors, come a cropper, fizzle [out], die or wither on the vine; fall through, fall flat; give out, give way, fall down on the job; slip through one's fingers; hang fire; collapse; topple down; go to wrack and ruin; go amiss, go hard with; go wrong, go on a wrong tack, take a wrong turn; sow the wind and reap the whirlwind; jump out of the frying pan into the fire. Slang, fold up.
6. cause to fail, fix one's wagon, dash one's hopes, shoot down.
1. failing, unsuccessful; abortive, stillborn; fruitless; bootless; ineffectual, ineffective, inefficacious; inefficient; impotent (see impotence); lame, hobbling; insufficient (see insufficiency); unavailing, useless (see uselessness).
2. aground, grounded, swamped, stranded, cast away, wrecked, foundered, capsized, shipwrecked; foiled, defeated, vanquished, conquered; struck, borne, or broken down; downtrodden, overborne, overwhelmed; all up with; lost, undone, ruined, broken, bankrupt (see debt); done up, done for, dead beat, knocked on the head; thrown off one's balance; unhorsed; in a sorry plight; hard hit; left in the lurch; stultified, befooled, hoist by one's own petard; victimized, sacrificed; wide of the mark (see error); thrown away (see waste); unattained; uncompleted. Informal, whipped, licked, kaput, out of the running. Slang, washed out; dished, fucked, in the bag, on the fritz.
Adverbs — unsuccessfully; to little or no purpose, in vain, to no avail; about or on one's head; about or around one's ears.
Phrases — back to the drawing board or square one; the bigger they are, the harder they fall; the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley; you cannot make an omelet without breaking eggs. Slang, the jig is up.
Quotations — As he rose like a rocket, he fell like the stick (Thomas Paine), Half the failures in life arise from pulling in one's horse as he is leaping (Julius and Augustus Hare), Down with the defeated! (Livy), There is no loneliness greater than the loneliness of failure (Eric Hoffer), There is not a fiercer hell than the failure in a great object (John Keats), Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting (Bible).
Antonyms, see success.
(Roget's IV) n.
1. [An unsuccessful attempt]
Syn. fiasco, misadventure, nonperformance, abortion, bankruptcy, insolvency, nonsuccess, miscarriage, labor in vain, botch, bungle, frustration, misstep, false step, faux pas, breakdown, malfunction, checkmate, stoppage, collapse, rupture, defeat, rout, overthrow, downfall, implosion, breakdown in communication, total loss, crash, stalemate, negligence, omission, dereliction, no go*, flop*, turkey*, clinker*, loser*, bust*, dud*, washout*, dog*, bomb*, bummer*, lead balloon*, lemon*, flash in the pan*, slip 'twixt the cup and the lip*, losing game*, sinking ship*, sleeveless errand*, louse-up*, mess*, fizzle*, non-starter*.
Ant. success*, accomplishment, triumph.
2. [An unsuccessful person]
Syn. incompetent, defaulter, nonperformer, underachiever, ne'er-do-well, scapegrace, prodigal, bankrupt, derelict, castaway, beachcomber, ski bum, loser*, flunker*, born loser*, turkey*, dead duck*, has-been*, also-ran*, lemon*, flop*, bum*, no-account*, dud*, schlemiel*.
Ant. success*, veteran, star.
(Roget's 3 Superthesaurus) n.
1. nonsuccess *washout, *bomb, fiasco, disappointment, defeat, *Edsel, stumble, botch, fumble, slip, miscarriage, mishap, *strikeout, abortion, misadventure, dud, loss, bust, *dog, *turkey, debacle. ''A school in which the truth always grows strong.''— Henry Ward Beecher. ''Not the falling down, but the staying down.''—Mary Pickford. ''The highway to success.''—John Keats.
2. loser *down-and-outer, *also-ran, flop, stiff, incompetent, *has-been, washout.
3. weakening deterioration, dwindling, fading, decline, loss.
ANT.: 1. success, achievement, triumph. 2. winner, success, champion. 3. strengthening, flourishing, thriving, growth
(Roget's Thesaurus II) noun 1. The condition of not achieving the desired end: unsuccess, unsuccessfulness. See THRIVE. 2. One that fails completely: bust, fiasco, loser, washout. Informal: dud, flop, lemon. Slang: bomb. See THRIVE. 3. A cessation of proper mechanical functions: breakdown, outage. See THRIVE. 4. Nonperformance of what ought to be done: default, delinquency, dereliction, neglect, omission. Law: nonfeasance. See DO. 5. A marked loss of strength or effectiveness: declination, decline, deterioration. See INCREASE. 6. The condition of being financially insolvent: bankruptcy, bust, insolvency. See MONEY.

English dictionary for students. 2013.

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