fal·​li·​bil·​i·​ty | \ ˌfa-lə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce fallibility (audio) \

Definition of fallibility

: liability to err

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Did You Know?

You'll find this word showing up in discussions of eyewitness testimony at crime scenes, of lie detectors, and of critical airplane parts. Some of us are most familiar with the fallibility of memory, especially when we remember something clearly that turns out never to have happened. Being fallible is part of being human, and sometimes the biggest errors are made by those who are thought of as the most brilliant of all.

Examples of fallibility in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Artists such as Muse and Jakob Dylan have framed him as a charlatan; critics point to hacky releases by Kid Rock, Josh Groban and latter-day Weezer as proof of his fallibility. Judy Berman, Time, "Showtime's Extremely Authorized Rick Rubin Docuseries Shangri-La Is Flawed But Sublime," 9 July 2019 The fundamental fallibility of humans seems outdated, distant, and confined to a few distant others. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, "In Dignity, Chris Arnade Finds Faith amid Harsh Lives," 10 June 2019 Their intent was to make the criminal code more forgiving of human fallibility. Jeannie Suk Gersen, The New Yorker, "The End of the Gay-Panic Legal Defense," 8 July 2019 What appears from a distance to be a collection of incidental figures is revealed, on closer study, to be both an indictment and a celebration of humanity in all its individual abundance and fallibility. The Economist, "An enthralling history of HMP Brixton," 6 June 2019 Part of the tour’s educational outreach, the bus is loaded with exhibits and experiments that illustrate the brain’s fallibility. Cathryn Jakobson Ramin, Discover Magazine, "These Researchers Think We Can Retrain Our Brains to Tame Chronic Pain," 30 May 2019 Given the fallibility of the original metric, this is a dangerous proposition. Annie Abrams, The New Republic, "The College Board Hopes to Profit from “Adversity”," 6 June 2019 Wednesday’s pullback was a reminder to investors of the fallibility of the tech trade, which has dominated the latest leg of the nine-year bull market. Akane Otani, WSJ, "Tech Stocks Retreat as Senate Hearing Proceeds," 5 Sep. 2018 The boots' fallibility became so widely known that even the Simpson's lampooned their ineffectiveness. Steve Rousseau, Popular Mechanics, "Can the Parking Boot Be Beat?," 6 June 2013

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fallibility.' 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 fallibility

1608, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for fallibility

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for fallibility

The first known use of fallibility was in 1608

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More from Merriam-Webster on fallibility

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fallibility

Comments on fallibility

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miscellaneous remnants or debris

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