failure

noun

fail·​ure ˈfāl-yər How to pronounce failure (audio)
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
He was trying to rescue the company from failure.
3
a
: a falling short : deficiency
a crop failure
4
: one that has failed
He felt like a failure when he wasn't accepted into law school.

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.
Recent Examples on the Web That was the case in the zombie failure of Bed Bath & Beyond. Bernard Condon, Fortune, 7 June 2024 The failure of economic growth to yield more jobs is in large part the story of how India missed out on the manufacturing boom that played out in East Asia over recent decades. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, 7 June 2024 Water temperatures of 60 degrees or lower can cause cold shock and result in swimming failure and drowning, while temperatures under 64 degrees can still cause hypothermia to set in quickly. Shaun Goodwin, Idaho Statesman, 6 June 2024 Severe Side Effects Severe side effects are rare but possible, like kidney failure. Brittany Lubeck, Ms, Rdn, Verywell Health, 6 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for failure 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'failure.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

alteration of earlier failer, from Anglo-French, from Old French faillir to fail

First Known Use

1643, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of failure was in 1643

Dictionary Entries Near failure

Cite this Entry

“Failure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/failure. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

failure

noun
fail·​ure ˈfā(ə)l-yər How to pronounce failure (audio)
1
a
: a failing to do or perform
failure to pass the test
b
: neglect of an assigned or expected action
failure to pay on time
c
: inability to perform a normal function well enough
heart failure
2
a
: a lack of success
failure in the campaign
b
: bankruptcy
a business failure
3
a
: a falling short : deficiency
crop failure
b
: a breaking down
a failure of memory
4
: one that has failed
the scheme was a complete failure

Medical Definition

failure

noun
fail·​ure ˈfā(ə)l-yər How to pronounce failure (audio)
: a state of inability to perform a vital function
acute renal failure
respiratory failure
see heart failure

Legal Definition

failure

noun
fail·​ure
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

More from Merriam-Webster on failure

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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