Pronunciation Verb

fell (fells, present participle felling; past and past participle felled)

  1. (transitive) To make something fall; especially to chop down a tree.
    • 1591, William Shakespeare, “The Second Part of Henry the Sixt, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act IV, scene ii]:
      Stand, or I'll fell thee down.
  2. (transitive) To strike down, kill, destroy.
    • 2016 January 17, "What Weiner Reveals About Huma Abedin ↗," Vanity Fair (retrieved 21 January 2016):
      This Sunday marks the debut of Weiner, a documentary that follows former congressman Anthony Weiner in his attempt to overcome a sexting scandal and run for mayor of New York City—only to be felled, somewhat inexplicably, by another sexting scandal.
  3. (sewing) To stitch down a protruding flap of fabric, as a seam allowance, or pleat.
    • 2006, Colette Wolff, The Art of Manipulating Fabric, page 296:
      To fell seam allowances, catch the lining underneath before emerging 1/4" (6mm) ahead, and 1/8" (3mm) to 1/4" (6mm) into the seam allowance.
Translations Noun

fell (plural fells)

  1. A cutting-down of timber.
  2. The stitching down of a fold of cloth; specifically, the portion of a kilt, from the waist to the seat, where the pleats are stitched down.
  3. (textiles) The end of a web, formed by the last thread of the weft.

fell (plural fells)

  1. An animal skin, hide, pelt.
    • c. 1599 Shakespeare: As You Like It: Act 3 Sc.3 L. 35
      Why, We are still handling our ewes, and their fells, you know, are greasy.
  2. Human skin (now only as a metaphorical use of previous sense).
    • c. 1390, William Langland, Piers Plowman, I:
      For he is fader of feith · fourmed ȝow alle / Bothe with fel and with face.

fell (plural fells)

  1. (archaic outside UK) A rocky ridge or chain of mountains.
    • 1937 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
      The dwarves of yore made mighty spells, / While hammers fell like ringing bells, / In places deep, where dark things sleep, / In hollow halls beneath the fells.
    • 1971 Catherine Cookson, The Dwelling Place
      She didn't know at first why she stepped off the road and climbed the bank on to the fells; it wasn't until she found herself skirting a disused quarry that she realised where she was making for, and when she reached the place she stood and gazed at it. It was a hollow within an outcrop of rock, not large enough to call a cave but deep enough to shelter eight people from the rain, and with room to spare.
  2. (archaic outside UK) A wild field or upland moor.

fell (comparative feller, superlative fellest)

  1. Of a strong and cruel nature; eager and unsparing; grim; fierce; ruthless; savage.
    one fell swoop
    • c. 1591, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 3, Act II scene vi:
      […] While we devise fell tortures for thy faults.
    • 1663, Hudibras, by Samuel Butler (poet), part 1, canto 2
      And many a serpent of fell kind, / With wings before, and stings behind
    • 1960, P[elham] G[renville] Wodehouse, chapter XIX, in Jeeves in the Offing, London: Herbert Jenkins, OCLC 1227855 ↗:
      No words had been exchanged between Upjohn and self on the journey out, but the glimpses I had caught of his face from the corner of the eyes had told me that he was grim and resolute, his supply of the milk of human kindness plainly short by several gallons. No hope, it seemed to me, of turning him from his fell purpose.
  2. (UK dialectal, Scotland) Strong and fiery; biting; keen; sharp; pungent
  3. (UK dialectal, Scotland) Very large; huge.
  4. (obsolete) Eager; earnest; intent.
    • I am so fell to my business.


  1. Sharply; fiercely.

fell (uncountable)

  1. anger#Noun|Anger; gall#Noun|gall; melancholy.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Qveene. […], London: Printed [by John Wolfe] for VVilliam Ponsonbie, OCLC 960102938 ↗, book III, canto XI:
      Untroubled of vile fear or bitter fell.
    • 1885–1887, Gerard Manley Hopkins, “[Poem 45]”, in Robert Bridges, editor, Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins: Now First Published […], London: Humphrey Milford, published 1918, OCLC 5093462 ↗, stanza 1, page 66 ↗:
      I wake and feel the fell of dark, not day. / What hours, O what black hoürs we have spent / This night!


  1. (mining) The finer portions of ore, which go through the meshes when the ore is sorted by sifting.
  1. simple past tense of fall
  2. (now colloquial) Past participle of fall

Proper noun
  1. Surname

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