Definition of fallible
1 : liable to be erroneous a fallible generalization
2 : capable of making a mistake we're all fallible
falliblyplay \ˈfa-lə-blē\ adverb
fallible was our Word of the Day on 01/05/2015. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Recent Examples of fallible from the Web
The sociologist Max Weber considered bureaucracy indispensable but fallible.
The starting rotation has been far more fallible than anyone could have imagined, with Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Matt Moore and Matt Cain regressing in various forms.
The fact that most of the people who hold authority in our lives due to their expertise are fallible can be hard to come to grips with.
Journalism scandals are all too common: Reporters are as fallible as the practitioners of any other profession, and because the press loves to cover itself, such stories receive great attention.
Machines are as fallible as —and they can’t be shamed into better behavior. •
In short, Karim writes realistic, fallible, complex characters.
The error proves, once again, that journalists are fallible.
That’s especially true of the sophisticated but fallible models and simulations by which scientists attempt to peer into the climate future.’
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fallible.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
Errare humanum est. That Latin expression translates into English as "To err is human." Of course, cynics might say that it is also human to deceive. The word fallible simultaneously recognizes both of these human character flaws. In modern usage, it refers to one's ability to err, but it descends from the Latin verb fallere, which means "to deceive." Fallible has been used to describe the potential for error since at least the 15th century. Other descendants of the deceptive fallere in English, all of which actually predate fallible, include fallacy (the earliest, now obsolete, meaning was "guile, trickery"), fault, false, and even fail and failure.
Origin and Etymology of fallible
Middle English, from Medieval Latin fallibilis, from Latin fallere
First Known Use: 15th centurySee Words from the same year
FALLIBLE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of fallible for English Language Learners
: capable of making mistakes or being wrong
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up fallible? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).