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

There have been failures, but that is because sufficient attention has not been paid to what makes for successful policies. K.n.c., The Economist, "If capitalism is broken, maybe it’s fixable," 8 July 2019 Jastasia King, 26, faces charges of failure to stop and render aid, police said. Loyd Brumfield, Dallas News, "12-year-old boy killed in hit-and-run while collecting youth football donations in Red Bird," 6 July 2019 The Akira film substantially condensed the manga’s story, and, as Gizmodo pointed out, Otomo initially felt his adaptation was a failure because of its major time and budget constraints. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Akira is getting a 4K remaster and a new anime series," 5 July 2019 That’s what life—and business—is about: getting to that point of failure where your body can rebuild again. As Told To Megan Ditrolio, Marie Claire, ""Being A Female CEO Is Not My Identity"," 3 July 2019 So was the failure to provide any means of meaningfully examining the accuser’s credibility. David French, National Review, "Amy Coney Barrett Strikes a Blow against Campus Kangaroo Courts," 2 July 2019 Earnest True Smith, 36, was booked into the county jail at 10:15 a.m. Friday on a charge of failure to appear in court on 2018 charges of unlawful distribution of marijuana and cocaine trafficking. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al.com, "Jefferson County jail inmate dies after plastic bag ruptures in stomach," 2 July 2019 There was a failure of states to integrate schools in America. Andrea González-ramírez, refinery29.com, "Why It Matters That Kamala Harris Confronted Joe Biden On His Record On Race," 30 June 2019 Audiences and other critics weren’t any more positive than Rafferty, as the movie was a critical and commercial failure, marking the first miss in Smith’s unparalleled early movie stardom run. Derek Lawrence, EW.com, "In defense of Wild Wild West for its 20th anniversary," 28 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

13 Jul 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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