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 Kershaw, a three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, showed none of the fallibility that's plagued his postseason career. Beth Harris, Star Tribune, "Kershaw Ks 13 as Dodgers eliminate Brewers 3-0," 2 Oct. 2020 Kershaw, a three-time NL Cy Young Award winner, showed none of the fallibility that's plagued his postseason career. Beth Harris, orlandosentinel.com, "Clayton Kershaw strikes out 13 as Dodgers eliminate Brewers 3-0," 2 Oct. 2020 There was an initial burst of excitement, quickly tempered by an emphasis on the tests' fallibility. Elizabeth Gulino, refinery29.com, "Is The New COVID-19 Saliva Test Accurate?," 17 Aug. 2020 The case for using technology is to remove human fallibility from the equation. Popular Science, "Major League Baseball is nearing the era of the robot umpire," 9 June 2020 Most presidents acknowledge a degree of humility if not fallibility and ask fellow Americans — and God — for help in achieving their policy goals. Los Angeles Times, "Trump’s new 2020 message — it’s not my fault," 8 May 2020 Like the writing of the Jamaican poet Lloyd W. Brown or the Bajan scholar Kamau Brathwaite, Card’s novel reveals fissures in record-keeping and the fallibility of documents written in colonial English. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "An Epic Novel Haunted by the Ghosts of Colonialism," 11 Mar. 2020 Democratic and market processes act to even out human fallibility and explore all sorts of possibilities. The Economist, "Can technology plan economies and destroy democracy?," 18 Dec. 2019 On Friday, the defense called Elizabeth Loftus, a psychologist and professor at the University of California at Irvine whose specialty is research on the fallibility of human memory. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Jessica Mann never said Weinstein raped her, called him 'spiritual soulmate,' witness says," 10 Feb. 2020

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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Time Traveler for fallibility

Time Traveler

The first known use of fallibility was in 1608

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Statistics for fallibility

Last Updated

6 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fallibility.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fallibility. Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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