v. be·fell (-fĕl), be·fall·en (-fôlən), be·fall·ing, be·falls
To come to pass; happen: What is the worst that may befall?
1. Used with the impersonal subject it and a following clause to indicate the occurrence of a usually unexpected or chance event: "It befell that, an hour before the appointed time, she was sent for by a neighbor who had been taken ill" (Henry James).
2. To happen to: What befell the ship? See Synonyms at happen.
[Middle English bifallen, from Old English befeallan, to fall.]
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Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.