1. the settling to the ground of airborne particles ejected into the atmosphere from the earth by explosions, eruptions, forest fires, etc., especially such settling from nuclear explosions (radioactive fallout).Compare rainout.
  2. the particles themselves.Compare rainout.
  3. an unexpected or incidental effect, outcome, or product: the psychological fallout of being obese.
  4. effects; results: emotional fallout from a divorce.


  1. the descent of solid material in the atmosphere onto the earth, esp of radioactive material following a nuclear explosion
  2. any solid particles that so descend
  3. informal side-effects; secondary consequences

verb fall out (intr, adverb)

  1. informal to quarrel or disagree
  2. (intr) to happen or occur
  3. military to leave a parade or disciplinary formation

sentence substitute

  1. military the order to leave a parade or disciplinary formation

“radioactive particles,” 1950, from fall (v.) + out (adv.).

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