failure

noun
fail·​ure | \ ˈfāl-yər How to pronounce failure (audio) \

Definition of failure

1a : 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
2a : lack of success
b : a failing in business : bankruptcy He was trying to rescue the company from failure.
3a : 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.

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Even on the crime itself, Mueller makes clear that the failure to establish a crime like conspiracy does not mean the absence of evidence. Ben Bradlee Jr., The New Yorker, "How Collusion Confusion Helps Trump," 12 June 2019 The scar reverse mortgage failures leave on neighborhoods can be seen on a drive through Chicago’s South Side with longtime resident and community organizer Pat DeBonnett. USA Today, "Seniors were sold a risk-free retirement with reverse mortgages. Now they face foreclosure.," 12 June 2019 Texas’ committee found several healthcare provider and facility missteps associated with maternal death, including failure to recognize a patient’s risk status, delays in diagnosis and delays in beginning appropriate treatment. Anna Claire Vollers | Avollers@al.com, al.com, "These volunteers teamed up to investigate deaths of moms in Alabama," 11 June 2019 As Bloomberg’s Jonathan Bernstein perceptively wrote over the weekend, much of this dynamic is explained by Trump’s failure as a chief executive. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Corruption Is the Tie that Binds for Trump-Era Republicans," 11 June 2019 Transformer failures are usually caused when the temperatures are too great for the equipment. George Avalos, The Mercury News, "PG&E: Transformers in Bay Area can’t always cope with heat waves," 11 June 2019 Mejia said semis can overturn for a variety of reasons such as mechanical failure or a mistake by the driver. Grace Oldham, azcentral, "Overturned semi blocks entrance to Loop 202 at Kyrene in Chandler; expect delays," 10 June 2019 Police arrested the suspect for disorderly conduct while intoxicated and failure to identify himself. Drug abuse, Bunts Road Police cited a suspect for drug abuse after stopping his car at about 10:55 p.m. May 29 on Bunts near Detroit Avenue. Bruce Geiselman, cleveland.com, "Police investigate vehicle theft: Lakewood Police Blotter," 9 June 2019 The condition carries a risk of long-term complications, including heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure. Jennifer Couzin-frankel, Science | AAAS, "In milestone trial, experimental drug delays type 1 diabetes," 9 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'failure.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of failure

1643, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for failure

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

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Statistics for failure

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for failure

The first known use of failure was in 1643

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More Definitions for failure

failure

noun

English Language Learners Definition of failure

: a lack of success in some effort
: a situation or occurrence in which something does not work as it should
: an occurrence in which someone does not do something that should be done

failure

noun
fail·​ure | \ ˈfāl-yər How to pronounce failure (audio) \

Kids Definition of failure

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

failure

noun
fail·​ure | \ ˈfā(ə)l-yər How to pronounce failure (audio) \

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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failure

noun
fail·​ure

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on failure

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for failure

Spanish Central: Translation of failure

Nglish: Translation of failure for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of failure for Arabic Speakers

Comments on failure

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