\ 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 But despite the biography’s faults, Figueiredo has given English readers a superb account of the social and political atmosphere of Scandinavia in Ibsen’s time, and of Ibsen’s peculiar and inconsistent place within it. Andrew Katzenstein, Harper's magazine, "The Radical Conservative," 16 Sep. 2019 Edsall said last week that the problem was not Thomas’s fault, instead blaming UConn staff. Alex Putterman, courant.com, "Freshman Jack Zergiotis named starting quarterback, shows flashes in close debut," 8 Sep. 2019 Another double-fault from Williams duly ended the opening set. Ravi Ubha, CNN, "Bianca Andreescu beats Serena Williams to win her first US Open and grand slam title," 7 Sep. 2019 The Wilmington fault, as it’s called, is an elusive type of fracture. Maya Wei-haas, National Geographic, "Hidden earthquake risk found lurking beneath Los Angeles," 30 Aug. 2019 Any other tree will have other faults, and most of those will be much worse. Neil Sperry, ExpressNews.com, "Hollow, goop-filled tree needs an arborist’s advice," 30 Aug. 2019 But the similarities in the crashes suggest that Tesla didn’t address this issue with Autopilot’s ability to recognize a crossing tractor-trailer, regardless of the potential fault of the driver. Sean O'kane, The Verge, "Tesla hit with another lawsuit over a fatal Autopilot crash," 1 Aug. 2019 Small quakes are common in earthquake-prone Western Washington, which sits on top of more than a dozen large, shallow faults. Asia Fields, The Seattle Times, "Small 3.0 earthquake hits Snohomish County near site of last week’s larger quake," 17 July 2019 What happens, out there on the San Andreas fault, after the world is blown apart? Rachel Syme, The New Republic, "Big Little Lies Gets Tough," 28 June 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Williams double-faulted eight times in all, including three times on break point, part of her 33 unforced errors, nearly twice as many as Andreescu’s 17. Washington Post, "Bianca Andreescu beats Serena Williams in US Open final," 7 Sep. 2019 Gauff, who is based in Florida, double-faulted three times in her first service game. Howard Fendrich, The Denver Post, "Call Coco the Comeback Kid: Gauff wins U.S. Open debut at 15," 27 Aug. 2019 Six in 10 Republicans fault the 2010 healthcare law, often called Obamacare. oregonlive.com, "High deductibles add to squeeze on middle class America," 4 Aug. 2019 What took his life; a poisonous snake, an intestinal riot, or desiccation that assaulted and cracked all soft tissue until the organs faulted, one by one? Frank Hutchins, The Courier-Journal, "Bellarmine professor goes face-to-face with the stark realities of the US/Mexican border," 15 July 2019 Several lawsuits concerning the program have been filed against servicers, but Thursday’s complaint is the first directly faulting the Education Department for its handling of the program. Michelle Hackman, WSJ, "Teachers Sue Betsy DeVos Over Public-Service Debt Forgiveness," 11 July 2019 Still, in addition to faulting administrators avoidance of the process in place, investigators said some contract requirements put children at risk. Bethany Barnes, OregonLive.com, "Union president: Portland teachers contract not to blame for sexual misconduct scandal," 14 May 2018 Hard to fault Mayock, though, for the Antonio Brown debacle, which may actually wind up galvanizing this young roster. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "2019 NFL season: 100 names to know as Week 1 kicks off," 8 Sep. 2019 To be honest, there isn't much to fault at Burnley. SI.com, "Burnley 2019/20 Season Preview: Strengths, Weaknesses, Key Man and Predictions," 6 Aug. 2019

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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Statistics for fault

Last Updated

2 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for fault

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

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More Definitions for fault


How to pronounce fault (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on fault

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fault

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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

Comments on fault

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a calculated move

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