\ 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 The Continued Assistance Act, passed by Congress at the end of December, restarted weekly pandemic-relief stipends, now at $300, for those receiving unemployment due to layoffs, furloughs or pay cuts through no fault of their own. The Salt Lake Tribune, "Utah’s jobless claims rise for a second straight week as renewed benefits start to flow," 14 Jan. 2021 People who are suffering through no fault of their own. Halle Kiefer, Vulture, "Watch Alex Trebek’s Heartfelt COVID-19 Speech Ahead of His Last Jeopardy! Episodes," 4 Jan. 2021 The Green Wave never had to postpone a game through any fault of its own and never even had to cancel a practice, joining a select few programs across the country that could make that claim. G Smith, NOLA.com, "Tulane football 2020: Grading the Green Wave position by position," 31 Dec. 2020 That game ended in disappointment, through no fault of his own. Stephen Means, cleveland, "What Garrett Wilson’s life-sized picture says about his Ohio State football career and why a Biletnikoff Award could be next," 29 Dec. 2020 Through no fault of their own, the move toward ditching car ownership for cheap rides around town via ride-hailing apps took a big dip in 2020, due to the pandemic. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Why Amazon, Apple Peloton and Zoom won 2020, while others like Quibi lost big," 29 Dec. 2020 So many children live in tough situations through no fault of their own. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: Student debt, COVID deaths, deployment's effects on kids," 28 Dec. 2020 Even with the continued moratorium, Melton said evictions are still going through and tenants are being removed from their homes through no fault of their own. Dom Difurio, Dallas News, "What do extended eviction protections mean for Dallas renters and when will rental aid be available?," 28 Dec. 2020 Dehart told county commissioners his property value was at risk through no fault of his own. Stephen Hudak, orlandosentinel.com, "Gotha homeowners sue Orange County, FDOT over flooding," 23 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Republican strategist Duf Sundheim didn't fault Biden on his approach to Trump since the president relishes conflict. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Biden gambles he'll win by letting Trump hold limelight during transition," 2 Dec. 2020 Washington’s hawks, meanwhile, fault Obama-era officials for their liberal idealism and inability to stem the wars in Syria and Ukraine — crises that defined the Obama administration’s second term. Washington Post, "Biden brings back the establishment," 24 Nov. 2020 An internal report put forward at the beginning of the week by Deborah Birx, coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, seemed to fault the administration for not adequately preparing for what could be a dark winter. Washington Post, "Away from U.S. election fever, coronavirus rages on," 6 Nov. 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

24 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fault.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fault. Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on fault

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