Definition of failure
1 a : omission of occurrence or performance; specifically : a failing to perform a duty or expected action <failure to pay the rent on time> b (1) : a state of inability to perform a normal function <kidney failure> — compare heart failure (2) : an abrupt cessation of normal functioning <a power failure> c : a fracturing or giving way under stress <structural failure>
2 a : lack of success b : a failing in business : bankruptcy
4 : one that has failed
Examples of failure in a sentence
He became discouraged by his repeated failures in business.
He was often crippled by his fear of failure.
The accident was caused by engine failure.
The patient was suffering from heart failure.
The accident was caused by a failure to use proper procedures.
She was criticized for failure to follow directions.
The drought caused crop failure.
He felt like a failure when he wasn't accepted into law school.
The scheme was a complete failure.
Origin of failure
alteration of earlier failer, from Anglo-French, from Old French faillir to fail
First Known Use: 1643
FAILURE Defined for Kids
Definition of failure for Students
1 : a lack of success <The experiment resulted in failure.>
2 : the act of neglecting or forgetting to do or perform <I was disappointed by his failure to keep a promise.>
3 : an instance of not working properly <power failure> <a failure of memory>
4 : a loss of the ability to work normally <heart failure>
5 : someone or something that has not succeeded <The new show was a failure.>
6 : an instance of falling short <crop failure>
7 : bankruptcy
Legal Definition of failure
1 : omission of occurrence or performance; specifically : a failing to perform a duty or expected action <a failure to mitigate damages> <failure to prosecute>
2 : a lack of success or adequacy <failure of a suit>
3 : a failing in business
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up failure? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).