fall / fôl/ • v. (past fell / fel/ ; past part. fall·en / ˈfôlən/ ) [intr.] 1. move downward, typically rapidly and freely without control, from a higher to a lower level. ∎ (fall off) become detached accidentally and drop to the ground: my sunglasses fell off and broke on the pavement. ∎ hang down: hair that was allowed to fall to the shoulders. ∎ (of land) slope downward; drop away: the land fell away in a steep bank. ∎ (fall into) (of a river) flow or discharge itself into. ∎ [intr.] (of someone's face) show dismay or disappointment by appearing to sag or droop: her face fell as she thought about her life with George. ∎ fig. occur, arrive, or become apparent as if by dropping suddenly: when night fell we managed to crawl back to our lines the information might fall into the wrong hands. 2. (of a person) lose one's balance and collapse: she fell down at school today. ∎ throw oneself down, typically in order to worship or implore someone: they fell on their knees. ∎ (of a tree, building, or other structure) collapse to the ground: the house looked as if it were going to fall down at any moment. ∎ die in battle: an English leader who had fallen at the hands of the Danes. 3. decrease in number, amount, intensity, or quality: we're worried that standards are falling. ∎ find a lower level; subside or abate: the water table in the Rift Valley fell. ∎ (of a measuring instrument) show a lower reading: the barometer had fallen ten points. 4. pass into a specified state: many of the buildings fell into disrepair. ∎ be drawn accidentally into: you must not fall into this common error. ∎ occur at a specified time: Mother's birthday fell on Flag Day. ∎ be classified or ordered in the way specified: canals fall within the Minister's brief. • n. 1. [usu. in sing.] an act of falling or collapsing; a sudden uncontrollable descent: his mother had a fall. ∎ a state of hanging or drooping downward: the fall of her hair. ∎ a downward difference in height between parts of a surface. ∎ a sudden onset or arrival as if by dropping: the fall of darkness. 2. a thing that falls or has fallen: in October came the first thin fall of snow a rock fall. ∎ (usu. falls) a waterfall or cascade. 3. a decrease in size, number, rate, or level; a decline: a big fall in unemployment. 4. a loss of office: the fall of the government. ∎ the loss of a city or fortified place during battle: the fall of Jerusalem. ∎ a person's moral descent, typically through succumbing to temptation. 5. (also Fall) autumn. PHRASES: fall in (or into) line conform with others or with accepted behavior. fall into place (of a series of events or facts) begin to make sense or cohere: once he knew what to look for, the theory fell quickly into place. fall over oneself to do something inf. be excessively eager to do something: critics and audiences fell over themselves to compliment him. fall short (of) (of a missile) fail to reach its target. ∎ fig. be deficient or inadequate; fail to reach a required goal: the total vote fell short of the required two-thirds majority. PHRASAL VERBS: fall apart (or to pieces) break up, come apart, or disintegrate: their marriage is likely to fall apart. ∎ (of a person) lose one's capacity to cope: Angie fell to pieces because she had lost everything. fall back move or turn back; retreat. fall back on have recourse to when in difficulty: they normally fell back on one of three arguments. fall behind fail to keep up with one's competitors. ∎ fail to meet a commitment to make a regular payment: borrowers falling behind with their mortgage payments. fall down be shown to be inadequate or false; fail: the deal fell down partly because there were a lot of unanswered questions. fall for inf. 1. be captivated by; fall in love with. 2. be deceived by (something): he should have known better than to expect Duncan to fall for a cheap trick like that. fall in with 1. meet by chance and become involved with: he fell in with thieves. 2. act in accordance with (someone's ideas or suggestions); agree to: falling in with other people's views. fall on (or upon) 1. attack fiercely or unexpectedly: the army fell on the besiegers. ∎ seize enthusiastically: she fell on the sandwiches as though she had not eaten in weeks. 2. (of someone's eyes or gaze) be directed toward: her gaze fell on the mud-stained coverlet. 3. (of a burden or duty) be borne or incurred by: the cost of tuition should not fall on the student. fall out 1. (of the hair, teeth, etc.) become detached and drop out. 2. have an argument: he had fallen out with his family. 3. happen; turn out: matters fell out as Stephen arranged. fall through come to nothing; fail: the project fell through due to lack of money. fall to (of a task) become the duty or responsibility of: it fell to me to write to Shephard. ∎ (of property) revert to the ownership of.
According to the theology of the early Christian church fathers, Adam not only possessed complete human harmony, he also possessed an encompassing knowledge of nature such that God brought all the animals to him so that he could name them (Gen. 2: 19–20). Adam and Eve lost not only these gifts as a result of the fall, but suffering and death became part of their lives and were passed on to their offspring. Eastern theologians, therefore, spoke of death by heredity, while Augustine of Hippo and other early Western theologians spoke of original sin that is passed on by heredity from one generation to the next. According to this view, only the Bible, as God's revelation, offers true knowledge.
During the Middle Ages, the influences of the theologies of creation and Christology, as well as the reception of Aristotelian and other ancient Greek writings, brought about a new understanding of the regularity and independence of the laws of nature. Scholars began to see nature as a second book of God's revelation, in addition to the Bible. Consequently, the idea appeared that humans had to study the book of nature to regain partly the knowledge that Adam had lost in the fall. This idea was important in English physico-theology during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, which strongly influenced the emerging natural sciences.
Criticism against the doctrine of original sin emerged with Enlightenment philosophy, which, contrary to the natural sciences and their conception of deterministic laws, emphasized human freedom and deemed the conception of passing on sin by heredity a confusion of categories in which sin was an aspect of history, and heredity an aspect of nature. Enlightenment philosophy interpreted the fall as a necessary step in human development from a dreaming, childlike consciousness toward the full adult consciousness that befitted humanity. For nineteenth-century philosopher Søren Kierkegaard, angst, which distinguishes humans as ecstatic beings from animals, is the actual occasion for sin. Kierkegaard rejects, however, any attempt to scientifically construe a cause for sin because this would create only myths.
The theory of evolution challenged the traditional doctrine of original sin from still another angle. How could primordial humans, who hardly differed in their abilities from animals, have had a comprehensive knowledge of nature, and how could they have determined the whole of human history that was to come? Evolutionary theory also weakens arguments against the doctrine of original sin that stem from Enlightenment philosophy. Evolutionary theory, in effect, transcends the juxtaposition of nature and history that the Enlightenment had assumed because it can show how behavior is, in fact, passed on through heredity, and contingent (historical) events can become structural elements of a living organism.
The doctrine of the fall, on the one hand, intends to emphasize that evil, which has been the cause of great suffering in the course of history, is rooted deep within humanity, and therefore is not easily overcome. It rejects all simplified, quick, and utopian solutions to the problem of evil. On the other hand, the doctrine precludes human nature from being identified with evil, and thus leaves the way open for potential, however laborious, progress. It addresses a depth in the human person that can only be addressed in a language of its own, such as myth.
Furthermore, evolutionary theory explains how events and developments that are experienced as negative or evil by single creatures (e.g., suffering, being killed, being fed on) are conducive to the development of life in general. In this way, evolutionary theory provides a new context for theological reinterpretations of the traditional doctrine of the fall. These reinterpretations are developed within the framework of either classical theology (Raymund Schwager), process theology ( Jerry Korsmeyer), or as part of a common theory of religions (Eugen Drewermann and Philip Hefner).
See also Augustine; Evil and Suffering; Evolution; Human Nature, Religious and Philosophical Aspects; Natural Theology; Two Books
drewermann, eugen. strukturen des bösen. paderborn, germany: schöningh, 1977–1978.
hefner, philip. "biological perspective of fall." zygon 28 (1993): 77–101.
kierkegaard, søren. the concept of anxiety (1844), trans. and ed. reidar thomte. princeton, n.j.: princeton university press, 1980.
korsmeyer, jerry. evolution and eden: balancing original sin and contemporary science. new york: paulist press, 1998.
ricoeur, paul. the symbolism of evil, trans. emerson buchanan. boston: beacon press, 1969.
schwager, raymund. erbsünde und heilsdrama. münster, germany: lit verlag, 1994.
fall on stony ground of words or a suggestion be ignored or badly received; with biblical allusion to the parable of the sower, in which some seed ‘fell upon stony places’ and withered away.
see also the apple never falls far from the tree, the bigger they are, the harder they fall, the bread never falls but on its buttered side, if the sky falls we shall catch larks, as a tree falls.
Fall ★★ 1997
Brainy supermodel falls for literary cabbie in this portrait of life in the Big Apple. Within minutes of a chance encounter in a cab, married fare Sarah Easton (DeCadenet) is whiling the hours that her gorgeous, rich, doting husband is away, listening to romantic hack Michael's poetry and writhing seductively while feasting on carry-out like it's “9 1/2 Weeks.” Schaeffer places himself opposite yet another gorgeous model and egotistically pens his character as a supersensitive writer (who does this guy think he is, Woody Allen?) faced with overwhelming acclaim after his first novel, who decides to chuck it all and drive a cab. Although nicely acted and not bad to look at, the main characters and both their dilemmas are just a little hard to relate to. 92m/C VHS, DVD . Eric Schaeffer, Amanda DeCadenet, Francie Swift, Lisa Vidal, Rudolf Martin; D: Eric Schaeffer; W: Eric Schaeffer; C: Joe DeSalvo; M: Amanda Kravat.
au·tumn / ˈôtəm/ • n. the third season of the year, when crops and fruits are gathered and leaves fall, in the northern hemisphere from September to November and in the southern hemisphere from March to May: the countryside is ablaze with color in autumn. fig. he was in the autumn of his life. ∎ Astron. the period from the autumnal equinox to the winter solstice.
- Autumnus personification; portrayed as mature and manly. [Rom. Myth.: LLEI, I: 322]
- Bacchus god of this season. [Rom. Myth.: Hall, 130]
- Carpo goddess of autumn and corn season. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 53]
- cornucopia conical receptacle full of the fruits of the harvest. [World Culture: Misc.]
- grapes and vine leaves symbolize harvest of vineyards for wine. [Art: Ha11, 130]
- Indian summer a period of mild, dry weather occurring in U.S. and Canada in late autumn. [Am. Culture: Misc.]