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

Definition of fault

 (Entry 1 of 2)
1a : 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.
2 : responsibility for wrongdoing or failure the accident was the driver's fault
3a : mistake The misplacement of "only" is one of the most common writing faults.
b : misdemeanor a small boy's faults
4 : 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.
5 obsolete : lack
at fault
1 : open to blame : responsible you were really at fault
2 : unable to find the scent and continue chase
to a fault
: to an excessive degree precise to a fault


faulted; faulting; faults
Definition of fault (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

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

Illustration of fault

Illustration of fault


fault 4: 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

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for fault


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 Microsoft claimed the design of its identity services was not at fault for the hack, despite Wyden's assertions, but acknowledged its programs were not set up to detect the theft of identity tools for granting cloud access. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Top Democrat finds Microsoft failed to fix issues resulting in SolarWinds hack," 25 Feb. 2021 The driver who was at fault, a Mayfield Heights man, 42, was found to be impaired. cleveland, "Man assaulted after drug deal goes bad: Lyndhurst police blotter," 24 Feb. 2021 Abbott has repeatedly placed blame on ERCOT over the last week — but Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has pushed back on the accusation that ERCOT is entirely at fault. Li Cohen, CBS News, "Four members of Texas power grid operator's board to resign in wake of deadly winter storm," 24 Feb. 2021 Beyond the perpetrators, the very fiber of America that has encouraged the continuous devaluation of Black lives is at fault. Brooklyn White, Essence, "When Will Black People Stop Being Killed For Being Black?," 23 Feb. 2021 Last year, the city withdrew its allegation in court that Hayes’ mother was negligent and at fault for her 17-year-old’s fatal shooting by police. oregonlive, "City poised to pay $2 million to settle suit stemming from Portland police fatal shooting of 17-yr-old Quanice Hayes," 23 Feb. 2021 Regardless of what occurred after Trump's Jan. 6 speech, the former president was simply exercising his First Amendment right to free speech and can't be found at fault, his attorneys argued. Brian Slodysko, ajc, "Trial highlights: Trump grievances and the word 'fight'," 12 Feb. 2021 Regardless of what occurred after Trump's Jan. 6 speech, the former president was simply exercising his First Amendment right to free speech and can't be found at fault, his attorneys argued. Brian Slodysko, Star Tribune, "Trial highlights: Trump grievances, angry outbursts and more," 12 Feb. 2021 While these antics are wholly inappropriate, Matt, Katie, and Melissa are not the ones ultimately at fault. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "Sorry To Burst Your Bubble — That “Fun” Bachelor Prank Was Actually Pretty Gross," 9 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Yet no one can fault Broughton for his hooking infraction 2:26 into overtime. Matt Nevala, Anchorage Daily News, "Homer erases two-goal deficit to claim DII state hockey title with overtime victory over Palmer," 21 Feb. 2021 Some community activists fault the mayor for focusing too much on housing at the expense of retail growth outside downtown. New York Times, "‘One Property at a Time’: A City Tries to Revive Without Gentrifying," 2 Feb. 2021 In other incidents, pilots and flight attendants fault their colleagues and employers. Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times, "Coughing, sneezing, vomiting: Visibly ill people aren’t being kept off planes," 1 Jan. 2021 Subsidence gets even trickier because its effects can vary dramatically over short distances, depending on factors like local clay composition or which side of an earthquake fault the land happens to be on. Matt Simon, Wired, "The Ongoing Collapse of the World's Aquifers," 19 Jan. 2021 The project has its detractors, who fault state officials as not going far enough in reimagining Penn Station. New York Times, "New Train Hall Opens at Penn Station, Echoing Building’s Former Glory," 30 Dec. 2020 Additionally, Marjory said her mother began to take her partner's side and fault her. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "A girl came to the U.S. border with reports of sexual abuse. ICE expelled her, citing COVID-19," 3 Dec. 2020 To fault Florida State for the result of those unfortunate circumstances embodies everything wrong with the approach college football has taken to this pandemic. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Don't blame Florida State for being cautious in calling off Clemson game," 21 Nov. 2020 Even residents who are looking forward to taking it do not fault their wary neighbors. NBC News, "Black Chicagoans anxious about Covid-19 vaccine as historic hospital set to close," 12 Dec. 2020

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


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 5


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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Time Traveler for fault Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for fault

Last Updated

1 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fault.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fault. Accessed 8 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for fault



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.



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

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


\ 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



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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Comments on fault

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