Ruin vs Fail - What's the difference?

ruin | fail |

As nouns the difference between ruin and fail

is that ruin is while fail is .




(en noun)
  • The remains of a destroyed or dilapidated construction, such as a house or castle.
  • *(Joseph Addison) (1672–1719)
  • *:The Veian and the Gabian towers shall fall, / And one promiscuous ruin' cover all; / Nor, after length of years, a stone betray / The place where once the very ' ruins lay.
  • *(Joseph Stevens Buckminster) (1751-1812)
  • *:The labour of a day will not build up a virtuous habit on the ruins of an old and vicious character.
  • *{{quote-book, year=1963, author=(Margery Allingham), title=(The China Governess)
  • , chapter=Foreword citation , passage=A canister of flour from the kitchen had been thrown at the looking-glass and lay like trampled snow over the remains of a decent blue suit with the lining ripped out which lay on top of the ruin of a plastic wardrobe.}}
  • (lb) The state of being a ruin, destroyed or decayed.
  • :
  • (lb) Something that leads to serious trouble or destruction.
  • :
  • *(Francis Bacon) (1561-1626)
  • *:The errors of young men are the ruin of business.
  • *
  • *:The Bat—they called him the Bat.. Most lone wolves had a moll at any rate—women were their ruin —but if the Bat had a moll, not even the grapevine telegraph could locate her.
  • (lb) A fall or tumble.
  • *(George Chapman) (1559-1634)
  • *:His ruin startled the other steeds.
  • A change that destroys or defeats something; destruction; overthrow.
  • :
  • *(Thomas Gray) (1716-1771)
  • *:Ruin seize thee, ruthless king!
  • Verb

    (en verb)
  • to cause the ruin of.
  • * 1883 ,
  • In one way, indeed, he bade fair to ruin us; for he kept on staying week after week, and at last month after month, so that all the money had been long exhausted...
  • To destroy or make something no longer usable.
  • He ruined his new white slacks by accidentally spilling oil on them.
  • * Longfellow
  • By the fireside there are old men seated, / Seeling ruined cities in the ashes.
  • To upset or mess up the plans or progress of, or to put into disarray; to spoil.
  • My car breaking down just as I was on the road ruined my vacation.


    * destroy * fordo * ruinate * wreck


    * build * construct * found * produce




    (en verb)
  • (label) To be unsuccessful.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-08-10, volume=408, issue=8848, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= A new prescription , passage=As the world’s drug habit shows, governments are failing in their quest to monitor every London window-box and Andean hillside for banned plants. But even that Sisyphean task looks easy next to the fight against synthetic drugs. No sooner has a drug been blacklisted than chemists adjust their recipe and start churning out a subtly different one.}}
  • (label) Not to achieve a particular stated goal. (Usage note: The direct object of this word is usually an infinitive.)
  • (label) To neglect.
  • To cease to operate correctly.
  • (label) To be wanting to, to be insufficient for, to disappoint, to desert.
  • * Bible, 1 Kings ii. 4
  • There shall not fail thee a man on the throne.
  • * 1843 , (Thomas Carlyle), '', book 3, ch. II, ''Gospel of Mammonism
  • A poor Irish Widow […] went forth with her three children, bare of all resource, to solicit help from the Charitable Establishments of that City. At this Charitable Establishment and then at that she was refused; referred from one to the other, helped by none; — till she had exhausted them all; till her strength and heart failed her: she sank down in typhus-fever […]
  • *
  • , title=The Mirror and the Lamp , chapter=2 citation , passage=That the young Mr. Churchills liked—but they did not like him coming round of an evening and drinking weak whisky-and-water while he held forth on railway debentures and corporation loans. Mr. Barrett, however, by fawning and flattery, seemed to be able to make not only Mrs. Churchill but everyone else do what he desired. And if the arts of humbleness failed him, he overcame you by sheer impudence.}}
  • (label) To receive one or more non-passing grades in academic pursuits.
  • (label) To give a student a non-passing grade in an academic endeavour.
  • To miss attaining; to lose.
  • * Milton
  • though that seat of earthly bliss be failed
  • To be wanting; to fall short; to be or become deficient in any measure or degree up to total absence.
  • The crops failed last year.
  • * Bible, Job xiv. 11
  • as the waters fail from the sea
  • * Shakespeare
  • Till Lionel's issue fails , his should not reign.
  • (archaic) To be affected with want; to come short; to lack; to be deficient or unprovided; used with of .
  • * Berke
  • If ever they fail of beauty, this failure is not be attributed to their size.
  • (archaic) To fall away; to become diminished; to decline; to decay; to sink.
  • * Milton
  • When earnestly they seek / Such proof, conclude they then begin to fail .
  • (archaic) To deteriorate in respect to vigour, activity, resources, etc.; to become weaker.
  • A sick man fails .
  • (obsolete) To perish; to die; used of a person.
  • * Shakespeare
  • had the king in his last sickness failed
  • (obsolete) To err in judgment; to be mistaken.
  • * Milton
  • Which ofttimes may succeed, so as perhaps / Shall grieve him, if I fail not.
  • 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.
  • Usage notes

    * This is a catenative verb which takes the to infinitive . See


    * (to be unsuccessful) fall on one's face


    * (to be unsuccessful) succeed

    Derived terms

    * failure * fail-safe


  • (uncountable) (label) Poor quality; substandard workmanship.
  • The project was full of fail .
  • (label) A failure (condition of being unsuccessful)
  • A failure (something incapable of success)
  • A failure, especially of a financial transaction (a termination of an action).
  • A failing grade in an academic examination.
  • Adjective

    (en adjective)
  • That is a failure.
  • References

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