\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for fault

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Notable throughout the poll, provided to Secrets, is majority-Hispanic agreement that the immigration disaster is Biden’s fault and that Democrats will pay a price in the election. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, "Exclusive: Most blame Biden for border crisis, spells 2022 doom for Democrats," 13 Apr. 2021 DeBisschop’s recruitment stalled somewhat (by no fault of his own), and the late bloomer recently added a preferred walk-on offer from Cal. oregonlive, "Jefferson’s Mookie Cook adds Kansas basketball offer; Westview’s Darrius Clemons receives offer No. 35: HS recruiting roundup," 27 Apr. 2021 Each performed precisely as designed, taking themselves offline after (incorrectly) sensing a fault. Shem Malmquist, Wired, "The Plane Paradox: More Automation Should Mean More Training," 24 Apr. 2021 The team’s lack of an experienced bench is president Danny Ainge’s fault and that weakness is only compounded by injuries to the starters. BostonGlobe.com, "Celtics shortcomings once again resurface," 24 Apr. 2021 The resilience of the markets, and the sense that Covid-19 was an act of God, not the fault of any one person, helped companies justify big pay packages. New York Times, "C.E.O. Pay Remains Stratospheric, Even at Companies Battered by Pandemic," 24 Apr. 2021 Perez is right that there are a lot of low-quality games in soccer, but that’s the fault of owners. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "The Existential Crisis That Led to the European Super League Fiasco," 23 Apr. 2021 Although the major stream of garbage produced is in fact food waste, the fault does not just lie in the hands of the food industry. Daniela De Lorenzo, Forbes, "Denmark’s Take Away Trash Culture And Food Waste On The Agenda," 21 Apr. 2021 While talking to the at-fault driver, the officer smelled alcohol. John Benson, cleveland, "Drunk Parma man with open container threatening gas station customers: Parma Heights Police Blotter," 21 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The pandemic is a magnifying glass showing us fissures and fault lines that have been there all along. Naz Beheshti, Forbes, "No One Is Immune To Stress—But These 3 Groups Of People Have Been Hit Hardest During The Pandemic," 28 Apr. 2021 Both suits fault offshore energy company Talos Energy, as well as lift boat operator Seacor Marine LLC and its affiliate Seacor Lifftboats LLC for the fatal accident. Kevin Mcgill, USA TODAY, "Lawsuits: Energy company put 'money over safety' in fatal capsizing of boat off Louisiana coast," 25 Apr. 2021 Reform advocates fault local officials for failing to provide more funding for interrupters and other public safety initiatives amid the bloodshed. Martin Kuz, The Christian Science Monitor, "No badges. No guns. Can violence interrupters help Minneapolis?," 13 Apr. 2021 Defending Your Life understands the fallibility of humankind and judges, but ultimately doesn’t fault, us for it. Rachel Simon, Vulture, "30 Years Later, Defending Your Life Is Still the Best Movie About the Afterlife," 24 Mar. 2021 Mack did not fault the Selection Committee for designating the Cardinals as the first alternate and said the team put itself in that position. Shannon Russell, The Courier-Journal, "Chris Mack on Louisville's NCAA Tournament snub: "Not the news we wanted to hear"," 15 Mar. 2021 School leaders fault poor attendance and academics for the low co-op placement rate. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston’s lone vocational school struggles to prepare students for jobs. Can Madison Park salvage its beauty program — and itself?," 27 Feb. 2021 The sentiment behind the environmental fundraiser is difficult to fault. Lawrence Wintermeyer, Forbes, "Climate-Positive Crypto Art: The Next Big Thing Or NFT Overreach?," 19 Mar. 2021 But gamers and experts in the gaming field say Evans’ attempt to play the blame game with a video game is just another grandstanding attempt to fault popular culture for society’s ills. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, "Daywatch: State sets vaccine record, Illinois towns on the verge of water shortage and Ms. Biscuit is reopening," 26 Feb. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fault

Time Traveler for fault

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for fault

Last Updated

30 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fault.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fault. Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on fault

What made you want to look up fault? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Star Wars Words Quiz

  • cu jedi training
  • The bounty portion of bounty hunters (such as Boba Fett) comes from a Latin word meaning
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!