1 of 3

noun (1)

: a defect in physical structure or form
a diamond with a flaw
: an imperfection or weakness and especially one that detracts from the whole or hinders effectiveness
vanity was the flaw in his character
a flaw in the book's plot
obsolete : fragment


2 of 3


flawed; flawing; flaws

transitive verb

: to make flaws in : mar

intransitive verb

: to become defective


3 of 3

noun (2)

: a sudden brief burst of wind
the wind changed with flaws from westwardArchibald MacLeish
also : a spell of stormy weather
obsolete : an outburst especially of passion

Examples of flaw in a Sentence

Verb that crack has flawed the vase to the extent that its value in the antiques market is greatly reduced
Recent Examples on the Web
Three talented teams just flawed enough to keep them from breaking away will stagger around the final turn of this season with three very distinct outcomes in play: Win the division. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 4 Sep. 2023 Believing the school’s investigation was flawed, San Jose State’s swim coach, Sage Hopkins, repeatedly re-reported the allegations to campus administrators, federal agencies, the NCAA, the Mountain West Conference and other entities. Kenny Jacoby, USA TODAY, 15 Aug. 2023 Believing the school’s investigation was flawed, San Jose State’s swim coach, Sage Hopkins, repeatedly re-reported the allegations to campus administrators, federal agencies, the NCAA, the Mountain West Conference and other entities over the next decade. Kenny Jacoby, USA TODAY, 4 Aug. 2023 Martha Bennett, principal analyst at Forrester Research, said these motivations in themselves were flawed. Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez, Fortune Crypto, 27 July 2023 Each inspection requires two months to dismantle the engine, replace the discs (if flawed), and reassemble them. Popular Mechanics, 27 July 2023 The chief problem, the notice said, is that the EPA’s 2015 standards are flawed, inadequately administered and are allowing substandard devices to be certified, thus creating more pollution and deceiving consumers. Yereth Rosen, Anchorage Daily News, 13 July 2023 For some who have followed the case, the Supreme Court ruling was the culmination of a process that has been flawed at every step of the way. Joe Heim, Washington Post, 6 July 2023 According to the authors of the rebuttal, the dating technique that had been used for the 2018 findings had been flawed, resulting in the possible overestimation of the arts’ age. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 21 June 2023
However, on the stump, DeSantis has been more vocal — although still cautious — about Trump’s flaws. Leah Askarinam, ABC News, 20 Sep. 2023 China’s lack of diversionary behavior also highlights a flaw in the logic of waging a diversionary war. M. Taylor Fravel, Foreign Affairs, 15 Sep. 2023 The Biden administration says the Trump-era Interior Department did not perform a sufficient environmental analysis for the leasing program under the National Environmental Policy Act, among other flaws. Alex Demarban, Anchorage Daily News, 14 Sep. 2023 Bloomberg Grounded Airlines around the world are scrambling to determine the full extent of a manufacturing flaw in some of their Airbus jets. Peter Vanham, Fortune, 13 Sep. 2023 To me, one of the fundamental flaws of artificial intelligence in health care is its overreliance on big data, such as medical records, imaging and biomarker values, while ignoring the small data. Fay Cobb Payton, Scientific American, 12 Sep. 2023 There’s no doubt that Trump is a populist, but there’s nothing inherently populist about, say, his appalling conduct after the 2020 election, which had to do with his character flaws, not any political ideology. The Editors, National Review, 8 Sep. 2023 Childs Walker: Hamilton is a good call, because his versatility will be essential to patching over this team’s defensive flaws. Baltimore Sun Staff, Baltimore Sun, 7 Sep. 2023 In the following months, Altman and his collaborators at Berkeley found a subtle flaw in the reasoning. Charlie Wood, Quanta Magazine, 11 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'flaw.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Noun (1) and Verb

Middle English, flake, from Old Norse flaga stone slab, moldar flaga thin layer of turf; akin to Old English flōh flat stone

Noun (2)

of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian flaga gust, squall

First Known Use

Noun (1)

1586, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1610, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Noun (2)

1513, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of flaw was in 1513

Dictionary Entries Near flaw

Cite this Entry

“Flaw.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flaw. Accessed 25 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: a small often hidden defect
flawlessly adverb
flawlessness noun


2 of 2 verb
: to make or become defective

More from Merriam-Webster on flaw

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