fal·​li·​bil·​i·​ty ˌfa-lə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce fallibility (audio)
: liability to err

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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.

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web These are cartoon characters, performed and depicted with a fallibility that’s all too human. Erik Adams, Chron, 11 Apr. 2023 Interestingly, curiosity, humility and fallibility are also linked with credibility. Tracy Brower, Forbes, 7 May 2023 Thanks to clever hackers and human fallibility, passwords are just too easy to steal or defeat. David Hamilton, Anchorage Daily News, 4 May 2023 Isn't there fallibility? Ariana Marsh, Harper's BAZAAR, 8 Oct. 2021 Amy Edmondson, an expert in organizational strategy at Harvard Business School, pushes leaders to make this leap with a few specific leadership behaviors: framing the tasks at hand as learning problems; acknowledging your own fallibility; modeling curiosity. Aaron Powers, Quartz, 29 Sep. 2021 But the fallibility of zero-Covid became clear as the Omicron variant broke through the cordon in March 2022. George Calhoun, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2023 This has become a persistent question over the last decade, as a confluence of politics, culture and information technology has turned the internet into a vast and inescapable showcase of human fallibility. Charles Homans, New York Times, 14 Mar. 2023 Resigned to the privileged childishness of her dominant lover, the narrator comes to a clearer understanding of her own human fallibility. Kristen Millares Young, Washington Post, 10 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'fallibility.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1608, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fallibility was in 1608

Dictionary Entries Near fallibility

Cite this Entry

“Fallibility.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fallibility. Accessed 29 May. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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