fault

noun
\ ˈfȯlt How to pronounce fault (audio) , in poetry also ˈfȯt\

Definition of fault

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 obsolete : lack
2a : weakness, failing especially : a moral weakness less serious than a vice He loves her despite her many faults.
b : a physical or intellectual imperfection or impairment : defect a theory with some serious faults
c : an error especially in service in a net or racket game She committed too many faults to win the match.
3a : misdemeanor a small boy's faults
b : mistake The misplacement of "only" is one of the most common writing faults.
4 : responsibility for wrongdoing or failure the accident was the driver's fault
5 : a fracture in the crust of a planet (such as the earth) or moon accompanied by a displacement of one side of the fracture with respect to the other usually in a direction parallel to the fracture Frequent earthquakes have occurred along the San Andreas Fault.
at fault
1 : unable to find the scent and continue chase
2 : open to blame : responsible you were really at fault
to a fault
: to an excessive degree precise to a fault

fault

verb
faulted; faulting; faults

Definition of fault (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to commit a fault : err
2 : to fracture so as to produce a geologic fault

transitive verb

1 : to find a fault in easy to praise this book and to fault it— H. G. Roepke
2 : to produce a geologic fault in
3 : blame, censure can't fault them for not coming

Illustration of fault

Illustration of fault

Noun

fault 5: 1 fault with displaced strata a, b, c, d, e; 2 scarp

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms & Antonyms for fault

Synonyms: Noun

demerit, dereliction, failing, foible, frailty, shortcoming, sin, vice, want, weakness

Synonyms: Verb

blame, censure, condemn, criticize, denounce, dis (also diss) [slang], dispraise, knock, pan, reprehend, slag [chiefly British]

Antonyms: Noun

merit, virtue

Antonyms: Verb

extol (also extoll), laud, praise

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Choose the Right Synonym for fault

Noun

fault, failing, frailty, foible, vice mean an imperfection or weakness of character. fault implies a failure, not necessarily culpable, to reach some standard of perfection in disposition, action, or habit. a writer of many virtues and few faults failing suggests a minor shortcoming in character. being late is a failing of mine frailty implies a general or chronic proneness to yield to temptation. human frailties foible applies to a harmless or endearing weakness or idiosyncrasy. an eccentric's charming foibles vice can be a general term for any imperfection or weakness, but it often suggests violation of a moral code or the giving of offense to the moral sensibilities of others. compulsive gambling was his vice

Examples of fault in a Sentence

Noun

Lack of courage is his worst fault. If the book has a fault, it's that it's too long. It's your own fault you missed that bus. Through no fault of his own, he won't be able to attend the meeting. She committed too many faults to win the match.

Verb

The truck driver was faulted for the accident. Many have faulted her for not acting sooner. I can't fault him for trying to protect his family.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Orr pushed back on the contention that his bill would punish people who lost jobs through no fault of their own. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al.com, "New law reduces unemployment compensation in Alabama," 11 June 2019 The response included inoculating people on the street, which Calzo said made sense on some levels but also was a missed opportunity to do better outreach and perpetuated a perception that homeless people were at fault for spreading the disease. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Researchers find environment perpetuates stigma of homelessness," 9 June 2019 This incompetence is not entirely the fault of the Carter administration and his 16 Cabinet members. Joe Soucheray, Twin Cities, "Soucheray: Trash-collection ruling is a lesson for St. Paul, but city isn’t listening," 8 June 2019 That Central Americans are emigrating is hardly Mexico’s fault: the vast majority are fleeing droughts, poverty and violence in Honduras, El Salvador and, especially, Guatemala. The Economist, "Mexico has little choice but to placate Donald Trump," 6 June 2019 Roseanne Conner was quite a few steps removed from the actress who posted racist invective on her Twitter feed (behavior Barr is now apologizing for without fully admitting fault). David Sims, The Atlantic, "What Does ABC Want From The Conners?," 27 June 2018 Unemployment insurance programs are meant to help people who become jobless through no fault of their own. Ken Girardin, WSJ, "New York’s Subsidy for Striking Unions," 20 May 2019 And who could possibly find fault with sustainably raised pork rinds? Tamar Adler, Vogue, "Is Healthy Snack Food Actually Healthy—or Just Addictive?," 18 Jan. 2019 Airlines said a computer-system fault delayed departures across the U.S. early Monday, showing how even brief technical problems can quickly affect much of the nation’s air-travel network. Alison Sider, WSJ, "U.S. Airlines Report Delays Caused by System Fault," 1 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

If a country is faulted for currency manipulation, negotiations are required over its trade practices and it could be hit with tariffs. Josh Zumbrun, WSJ, "U.S. Criticizes China’s Currency Practices, but Doesn’t Add Manipulator Designation," 18 Oct. 2018 However, the exemption for hobbyists shouldn’t be faulted for the episode, AMA spokesman Chad Budreau said. Bloomberg.com, "Drone's Close Encounter With Jet Spurs Call to Tighten Laws," 13 Feb. 2018 Davis' exit was part of a larger restructuring at the department, a likely response to both the spillway incident and some of the findings of investigators that faulted its safety culture. Ralph Vartabedian, latimes.com, "Department of Water Resources chief ousted after report blames Oroville dam crisis on lax safety culture," 11 Jan. 2018 Auger-Aliassime served at 5-4 but double-faulted into the net three times, including on break point. Steven Wine, The Seattle Times, "Federer, defending champ Isner to meet in Miami Open final," 30 Mar. 2019 Critics of that study fault it for failing to control the results for mothers’ IQ, and say too few participants breast-fed their children long or exclusively enough to reap the maximum benefits. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "The Downside of Carrying the Most Weight at Work," 29 Jan. 2019 Internal Affairs didn’t fault him for the blows, but sanctioned him for using a heavier and longer flashlight than permitted by regulations. Mark Fazlollah, Philly.com, "List of 'troubled' Philadelphia police filled with inconsistencies," 16 Mar. 2018 The boys can’t really be faulted for not being able to decipher the words of the song—because the movement, and its anthem, is meant to be pan-tribal, to inspire unity among Native nations, most renditions of the song do not translate it into words. Rebecca Bengal, Vogue, "The Power of Nathan Phillips’s Song," 21 Jan. 2019 It’s hard to fault either LimeBike or Jump on convenience or price, but their systems don’t always work. David Pierce, WSJ, "Uber for Bikes Is a Commuter Dream… When It Works," 13 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fault.' 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 fault

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for fault

Noun and Verb

Middle English faute, falte, from Anglo-French, from Vulgar Latin *fallita, from feminine of fallitus, past participle of Latin fallere to deceive, disappoint

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Statistics for fault

Last Updated

15 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fault

The first known use of fault was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for fault

fault

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fault

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a bad quality or part of someone's character : a weakness in character
: a problem or bad part that prevents something from being perfect : a flaw or defect
: responsibility for a problem, mistake, bad situation, etc.

fault

verb

English Language Learners Definition of fault (Entry 2 of 2)

: to criticize (something)
: to blame or criticize (someone)

fault

noun
\ ˈfȯlt How to pronounce fault (audio) \

Kids Definition of fault

1 : a weakness in character : failing Forgetfulness is my worst fault.
2 : responsibility for something wrong Why should he take the blame when it wasn't his fault?
3 : flaw, imperfection She bought the jacket even though it had a fault.
4 : a crack in the earth's crust along which movement occurs
at fault
: responsible for something wrong

fault

noun

Legal Definition of fault

1 : a usually intentional act forbidden by law also : a usually intentional omission to do something (as to exercise due care) required by law — see also negligence — compare no-fault, strict liability at liability

Note: Sometimes when fault is used in legal contexts it includes negligence, sometimes it is considered synonymous with negligence, and sometimes it is distinguished from negligence. Fault and negligence are the usual bases for liability in the law of torts.

2 : responsibility for an act or omission that causes damage or injury to another relative degrees of fault — see also comparative fault
at fault
: liable or responsible based on fault was not at fault

History and Etymology for fault

Anglo-French faute lack, failing, ultimately from Latin fallere to deceive, disappoint

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More from Merriam-Webster on fault

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fault

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fault

Spanish Central: Translation of fault

Nglish: Translation of fault for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fault for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fault

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