from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To cause to fall by striking; cut or knock down: fell a tree; fell an opponent in boxing.
  • transitive v. To kill: was felled by an assassin's bullet.
  • transitive v. To sew or finish (a seam) with the raw edges flattened, turned under, and stitched down.
  • n. The timber cut down in one season.
  • n. A felled seam.
  • adj. Of an inhumanly cruel nature; fierce: fell hordes.
  • adj. Capable of destroying; lethal: a fell blow.
  • adj. Dire; sinister: by some fell chance.
  • adj. Scots Sharp and biting.
  • idiom at All at once.
  • n. The hide of an animal; a pelt.
  • n. A thin membrane directly beneath the hide.
  • n. Chiefly British An upland stretch of open country; a moor.
  • n. Chiefly British A barren or stony hill.
  • v. Past tense of fall.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of a strong and cruel nature; eagre and unsparing; grim; fierce; ruthless; savage.
  • adj. Strong and fiery; biting; keen; sharp; pungent; clever.
  • adv. Sharply; fiercely.
  • n. That portion of a kilt, from the waist to the seat, where the pleats are stitched down
  • n. An animal skin, hide
  • n. The end of a web, formed by the last thread of the weft.
  • v. To stitch down a protruding flap of fabric, as a seam allowance, or pleat.
  • n. A rocky ridge or chain of mountains.
  • n. A wild field or upland moor
  • v. To make something fall; especially to chop down a tree.
  • v. to strike down, kill, destroy
  • v. Simple past of fall.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • imp. of fall.
  • adj. Cruel; barbarous; inhuman; fierce; savage; ravenous.
  • adj. Eager; earnest; intent.
  • n. Gall; anger; melancholy.
  • n. A skin or hide of a beast with the wool or hair on; a pelt; -- used chiefly in composition, as woolfell.
  • n. A barren or rocky hill.
  • n. A wild field; a moor.
  • n. The finer portions of ore which go through the meshes, when the ore is sorted by sifting.
  • n. A form of seam joining two pieces of cloth, the edges being folded together and the stitches taken through both thicknesses.
  • n. The end of a web, formed by the last thread of the weft.
  • transitive v. To cause to fall; to prostrate; to bring down or to the ground; to cut down.
  • transitive v. To sew or hem; -- said of seams.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cause to fall; throw down; cut down; bring to the ground, either by cutting, as with ax or sword, or by striking, as with a club or the fist: as, to fell trees; to fell an ox; to fell an antagonist at fisticuffs.
  • In sewing, to flatten on and sew down level with the cloth: as, to fell a seam.
  • To finish the weaving of (a web, or piece of cloth).
  • Of a strong and cruel nature; eager and unsparing; grim; fierce; ruthless.
  • Strong and fiery; biting; keen; sharp; clever; as, a fell cheese; a fell bodie.
  • Sharply; fiercely.
  • n. A cutting down; a felling.
  • n. In sewing, a flat, smooth seam between two pieces of a fabric, made by laying down the wider of the two edges left projecting by the joining seam over the narrower edge and hemming it down.
  • n. In weaving, the line of termination of a web in the process of weaving, formed by the last weft-thread driven up by the lay; the line to which the warp is at any instant wefted.
  • n. Preterit of fall.
  • n. The skin or hide of an animal; a pelt; hence, an integument of any kind.
  • n. A hairy covering; a head of hair.
  • n. A hill, especially a rocky eminence: as, Mickle Fell, Scawfell, and Scawfell Pike, the last the highest mountain in England proper.
  • n. A stretch of bare, elevated land; a moor; a down.
  • n. Gall; anger; melancholy.
  • n. In mining, one of the many names of lead ore formerly current in Derbyshire, England.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the dressed skin of an animal (especially a large animal)
  • v. sew a seam by folding the edges
  • adj. (of persons or their actions) able or disposed to inflict pain or suffering
  • n. the act of felling something (as a tree)
  • v. cause to fall by or as if by delivering a blow
  • v. pass away rapidly
  • n. seam made by turning under or folding together and stitching the seamed materials to avoid rough edges


Middle English fellen, from Old English fellan, fyllan.
Middle English fel, from Old French, variant of felon; see felon1.
Middle English fel, from Old English fell; see pel-3 in Indo-European roots.
Middle English fel, from Old Norse fell, fjall, mountain, hill.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English fellen, from Old English fellan, fiellan ("to cause to fall, strike down, fell, cut down, throw down, defeat, destroy, kill, tumble, cause to stumble"), from Proto-Germanic *fallijanan (“to fell, to cause to fall”), causative of Proto-Germanic *fallanan (“to fall”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)pōl- (“to fall”). Cognate with Dutch vellen ("to fell, cut down"), German fällen ("to fell"), Norwegian felle ("to fell"). (Wiktionary)
Middle English fell ("hide, skin, fell"), from Old English fell ("hide, skin, pelt"), from Proto-Germanic *fellan (compare West Frisian fel, Dutch, vel, German Fell), from Proto-Indo-European *pélno 'skin, animal hide' (compare Latin pellis 'skin', Lithuanian plėnė 'skin', Russian plená 'pelt', Albanian plah 'to cover', Ancient Greek péllas 'skin'). (Wiktionary)
From Old Norse fell, fjall ("rock, mountain"), from Proto-Germanic *felzan, *fel(e)zaz (compare German Felsen 'boulder, cliff', Middle Low German vels 'hill, mountain'), from Proto-Indo-European *pelso (compare Irish aile 'boulder, cliff', Latin Palatium, Ancient Greek palléa, pélla 'stone', Pashto parša 'id.', Sanskrit pāşāņá 'id.') (Wiktionary)
From Middle English fel, fell ("strong, fierce, terrible, cruel, angry"), from Old English *fel, *felo, *fæle ("cruel, savage, fierce") (only in compounds, wælfel (“bloodthirsty”), ealfelo (“evil, baleful”), ælfæle (“very dire”), etc.), from Proto-Germanic *faliz, *felaz (“wicked, cruel, terrifying”), from Proto-Indo-European *pol- (“to pour, flow, swim, fly”). Cognate with Old Frisian fal ("cruel"), Old Dutch fel ("wrathful, cruel, bad, base"), Danish fæl ("disgusting, hideous, ghastly, grim"), Middle High German vālant ("imp"). See felon. (Wiktionary)



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  • –adjective
    1. fierce; cruel; dreadful; savage.
    2. destructive; deadly

    November 18, 2008

  • Contronymic in the sense: strong vs. weak (fell down).

    January 27, 2007