\ 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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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 Brady threw two interceptions, but neither were his fault. Dj Siddiqi, Forbes, 10 Sep. 2021 Although two of Antonio Brown’s big plays against him weren’t necessarily his fault. Nick Kehoe, Dallas News, 10 Sep. 2021 Debbie often worries about whether Rob's mental illness is her fault. Meg Kissinger, jsonline.com, 31 Aug. 2021 Sunday, Newton completed two of five passes for 10 yards against the Giants and was charged with an INT that wasn't entirely his fault. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, 30 Aug. 2021 The drums being too f---ing loud on country records nowadays is my fault. Matt Wake | Mwake@al.com, al, 21 Aug. 2021 It’s the first boring performance of Damon’s career, although the bland inertia may not be his fault. Richard Brod, The New Yorker, 11 Aug. 2021 Nurkic’s major weakness to this point is an inability to remain healthy, which of course is not his fault. oregonlive, 9 Aug. 2021 The company said will aim to fix any fault or outage on power lines in high-fire threat areas within 60 minutes. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, 7 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Instead, perhaps fault should lie with manager Dave Roberts. Los Angeles Times, 5 Sep. 2021 Few biologists today fault Tanner and Tody for so audaciously reconstituting the Great Lakes — Michigan's new research vessel for Lake Huron will bear Tanner's name. jsonline.com, 2 Sep. 2021 They are favored by drug companies and commonly accepted by the FDA, which independent experts fault for not setting the bar higher and for not requiring drug companies to develop more drugs with proven clinical benefits. John Fauber And Coulter Jones, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 Aug. 2021 The insurance industry has known about this loophole for months — and insists these charges aren’t insurers’ fault either. Los Angeles Times, 19 Aug. 2021 Democrats fault Republicans who have done little to push back against vaccine skeptics in their ranks and even now are soft-pedaling their calls for people to take the shot. BostonGlobe.com, 23 July 2021 Experts fault delta in India’s devastating coronavirus surge over recent months and also the outbreaks that caused the U.K. to delay its reopening plans this week. Chronicle Staff, San Francisco Chronicle, 27 June 2021 Few would fault Lawrence for stopping his racing career right there on the Mount Timpanogos football field. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 June 2021 Despite his skepticism, Todd does not fault Florida officials for their reluctance to declare their mission solely a recovery operation at this point. Washington Post, 1 July 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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Last Updated

21 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fault.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fault. Accessed 22 Sep. 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

More from Merriam-Webster on fault

Nglish: Translation of fault for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fault for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about fault


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