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

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Other Words from fallible

fallibly \ ˈfa-​lə-​blē How to pronounce fallibly (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 Mahomes had appeared fallible - throwing two second-half interceptions and missing throws under pressure from the 49ers’ front four. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "‘We had zero doubt’: Chiefs’ comeback earns Andy Reid first Super Bowl win," 2 Feb. 2020 Even the head of the retail class proved to be fallible this holiday season. Phil Wahba, Fortune, "Target gets brutal reminder of turnaround’s challenges from weak holiday season," 15 Jan. 2020 In hindsight, the Raiders’ three-game winning streak came against fallible teams. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "Raiders see missed opportunity in three-game skid," 10 Dec. 2019 Carbon offset programs are also fallible, since there’s no mechanism to guarantee purchases are legitimate. Jeremy Hodges | Bloomberg, Washington Post, "Why ‘Carbon Neutral’ Is the New Climate Change Mantra," 3 Dec. 2019 Truth, these experts tell him, lies not in our fallible senses but in the bewildering decrees of science. Meghan O’gieblyn, The New Yorker, "Do We Have Minds of Our Own?," 4 Dec. 2019 His persona is pointedly that of a fallible everyman, who has simply trained himself to observe his fellow humans more carefully than most of us do. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Being Brainwashed Into Joy in Derren Brown’s ‘Secret’," 15 Sep. 2019 Cole appeared fallible, an adjective no sane person could slap on Cole throughout this season. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros drop Game 1 of World Series to Nationals," 22 Oct. 2019 But a humbling 3-0 home defeat to CSKA Moscow was a reminder Los Blancos are still fallible in Europe. SI.com, "Real Madrid’s 9 Most Embarrassing Results in the Champions League," 2 Oct. 2019

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for fallible

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

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Last Updated

22 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fallible.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fallible. Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for fallible


How to pronounce fallible (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fallible

: capable of making mistakes or being wrong

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More from Merriam-Webster on fallible

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Spanish Central: Translation of fallible

Nglish: Translation of fallible for Spanish Speakers

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