\ 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 judge ruled that Webber needed treatment but wouldn’t get that in state custody, due both to her fault and that of the state, for failing to implement a transition program where she could be observed outside a secured environment. Robert Mccoppin, chicagotribune.com, 11 June 2021 But this isn’t necessarily so, and it’s the fifth postulate’s fault. Ethan Siegel, Forbes, 5 Mar. 2021 Much of it is not the agency's fault, noted Harvard's Robert Blendon, who led the team that conducted this year's poll. Maggie Fox, CNN, 21 May 2021 For generations of movie-watchers who’ve seen the same sweet but generic formula repeated time and time again, Shrek’s oddities remain a core element of its appeal — as does its staunch message that being different isn’t a fault, but a strength. Rachel Simon, refinery29.com, 19 May 2021 If that was mostly management’s fault, Pujols didn’t exactly live up to his terms, either. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, 11 May 2021 When the team is this rotten, there's no fault in contributing to its defeat. Frank Bruni New York Times, Star Tribune, 10 May 2021 In interviews, several Somali politicians said the mess was also Washington’s fault, blaming the United States for failing to intervene with Mr. Mohamed when his authoritarian tendencies became evident several years ago. New York Times, 30 Apr. 2021 Getting back at June for earlier, Lydia says that everything that's happened to her — Hannah, the handmaids, and the Marthas from the ledge — is all June's fault. Amanda Ostuni, EW.com, 28 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Border state lawmakers from both parties fault the White House for doing too little. BostonGlobe.com, 14 May 2021 Her detractors fault her for overly cozy relationships with business consultants and using state resources to broadcast her own successes. Bethany Rodgers, The Salt Lake Tribune, 10 May 2021 Few would fault Golden State general manager Bob Myers for checking Minnesota’s place in the NBA standings daily. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 May 2021 His High Commissioners have written furious letters to foreign publications who dare fault his handling of the pandemic. Aatish Taseer, Time, 27 Apr. 2021 Ryan implied that Academy shares fault over the tragedy for selling Kelley the assault rifle, which came with a 30-round magazine. Guillermo Contreras, San Antonio Express-News, 13 Apr. 2021 Porter has little use for those who fault fellow Democrats, namely progressives, for dragging the party down. Mark Z. Barabak Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 16 Dec. 2020 The pandemic is a magnifying glass showing us fissures and fault lines that have been there all along. Naz Beheshti, Forbes, 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, 25 Apr. 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.

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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

17 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fault.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fault. Accessed 17 Jun. 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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