Fail as an adjective

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Fri Jul 10 16:04:47 UTC 2009

On Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 11:15 AM, Mark Mandel<thnidu at> wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 10, 2009 at 10:49 AM, Karl Hagen<karl at> wrote:
>> It turns out that "failest" has 16,400 g-hits and an entry in the Urban
>> Dictionary:
>> "the art of when someone does something so epically [sic] FAIL that they just
>> fail at life."
>> The supplied example:
>> Carol: "Wow your attempt to push a chair onto the carpet was the failest thing
>> i've ever seen"
> Which might have been accompanied in a 13c Vrban Diccionarie by the
> comment "Thou failest!"

Someone with a less-than-perfect grasp of archaic verb endings
produced "Thou faileth it":

(Inspired by the putative origin of the "fail" meme -- the arcade game
Blazing Star, which taunted losing players with "You fail it!")

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society -

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