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 Wood, whose 2020 election lawsuits in Georgia were met with failure, is running against incumbent Drew McKissick for the chairmanship of South Carolina’s Republican Party. Daniel Chaitin, Washington Examiner, "Lin Wood rips Lindsey Graham and Nikki Haley as he campaigns to lead South Carolina GOP," 6 Apr. 2021 In Huntsville, at least one man pleaded guilty to a charge of failure to disperse. Ashley Remkus | Aremkus@al.com, al, "One city in Alabama is quietly dropping arrests made during last summer’s racial justice protests," 6 Apr. 2021 In total, 182 people were arrested for failure to disperse, police said. Marlene Lenthang, ABC News, "Police, protesters clash over sweep of Echo Park homeless encampment," 26 Mar. 2021 Andrea Sahouri was charged with failure to disperse and interference with official acts while covering a May 31 protest for the Des Moines Register. Editorial Board, Star Tribune, "Journalism on trial," 14 Mar. 2021 Andrea Sahouri was arrested while covering a May racial justice demonstration and went on trial this week for charges of failure to disperse and interference with official acts. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, "They allegedly stormed the Capitol; now they say it was in the service of journalism," 12 Mar. 2021 After deliberating for less than two hours, the jury found Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri and her ex-boyfriend Spenser Robnett not guilty on misdemeanor charges of failure to disperse and interference with official acts. CBS News, "Journalist arrested while covering protests acquitted in Iowa case seen as attack on press," 11 Mar. 2021 After deliberating for less than two hours, the jury found Des Moines Register reporter Andrea Sahouri and her ex-boyfriend Spenser Robnett not guilty on misdemeanor charges of failure to disperse and interference with official acts. NBC News, "Reporter Andrea Sahouri acquitted in Iowa case seen as attack on free press," 11 Mar. 2021 Sahouri was acquitted of both misdemeanor charges against her, failure to disperse and interference with official acts. Ryan W. Miller, USA TODAY, "Iowa journalist Andrea Sahouri acquitted in rare trial of reporter arrested while on assignment," 11 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for failure

Time Traveler

The first known use of failure was in 1643

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Statistics for failure

Last Updated

14 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Failure.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/failure. Accessed 16 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on failure

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