noun fail·ure \ˈfāl-yər\

Definition of FAILURE

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>
a :  lack of success
b :  a failing in business :  bankruptcy
a :  a falling short :  deficiency <a crop failure>
b :  deterioration, decay
:  one that has failed

Examples of FAILURE

  1. He became discouraged by his repeated failures in business.
  2. He was often crippled by his fear of failure.
  3. The accident was caused by engine failure.
  4. The patient was suffering from heart failure.
  5. The accident was caused by a failure to use proper procedures.
  6. She was criticized for failure to follow directions.
  7. The drought caused crop failure.
  8. He felt like a failure when he wasn't accepted into law school.
  9. 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

Other Business Terms

amortize, caveat emptor, clearinghouse, divest, due diligence, emolument, green-collar, marque, overhead, perquisite
FAILURE Defined for Kids


noun fail·ure \ˈfāl-yər\

Definition of FAILURE for Kids

:  a lack of success <The experiment resulted in failure.>
:  the act of neglecting or forgetting to do or perform <I was disappointed by his failure to keep a promise.>
:  an instance of not working properly <power failure> <a failure of memory>
:  a loss of the ability to work normally <heart failure>
:  someone or something that has not succeeded <The new show was a failure.>
:  an instance of falling short <crop failure>
Medical Dictionary


noun fail·ure \ˈfā(ə)l-yər\

Medical Definition of FAILURE

:  a state of inability to perform a vital function <acute renal failure> <respiratory failure>—see heart failure
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