fal·​li·​ble | \ ˈfa-lə-bəl How to pronounce fallible (audio) \

Definition of fallible

1 : liable to be erroneous a fallible generalization
2 : capable of making a mistake we're all fallible

Other Words from fallible

fallibly \ ˈfa-​lə-​blē How to pronounce fallible (audio) \ adverb

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.

Examples of fallible in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Kelly also argued that because of potentially fallible terminal diagnoses, people may be cutting their own lives short just off a doctor’s estimation. Simon Levien, BostonGlobe.com, 10 June 2022 Trivino is far from the only fallible A’s reliever of late. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 June 2022 MIAMI - Eric Lauer has not looked fallible much during the 2022 season. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 14 May 2022 The Milwaukee Brewers' dynamic bullpen, after all, is fallible. Curt Hogg, Journal Sentinel, 6 July 2022 Many people now blame computer trading and portfolio insurance, both still in their infancy and highly fallible. Frank Holmes, Forbes, 16 June 2022 Any system designed by fallible people is subject to design flaws, human error, and happenstance, as the terrifying history of nuclear near-misses demonstrates. David Faris, The Week, 24 Mar. 2022 Popeye is fallible but has long lived by his own moral code — a consistent trait that dates back to Segar’s creation. Michael Cavna, Washington Post, 3 June 2022 There’s both threat and promise in the therapeutic encounter: the ineffable, fallible, and intimate play between two strangers, one witnessed and one witnessing, talking it out. Ana Cecilia Alvarez, The Atlantic, 1 May 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of fallible

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fallible

Middle English, from Medieval Latin fallibilis, from Latin fallere

Learn More About fallible

Time Traveler for fallible

Time Traveler

The first known use of fallible was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Listen to Our Podcast About fallible

Dictionary Entries Near fallible




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for fallible

Last Updated

28 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fallible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fallible. Accessed 11 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on fallible

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fallible

Nglish: Translation of fallible for Spanish Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!