2 of 3



3 of 3


present participle of fail

Synonym Chooser

How does the noun failing differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of failing are fault, foible, frailty, and vice. While all these words mean "an imperfection or weakness of character," failing suggests a minor shortcoming in character.

being late is a failing of mine

When might fault be a better fit than failing?

The synonyms fault and failing are sometimes interchangeable, but 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

When is foible a more appropriate choice than failing?

While in some cases nearly identical to failing, foible applies to a harmless or endearing weakness or idiosyncrasy.

an eccentric's charming foibles

When could frailty be used to replace failing?

The words frailty and failing are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, frailty implies a general or chronic proneness to yield to temptation.

human frailties

When would vice be a good substitute for failing?

Although the words vice and failing have much in common, 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

Thesaurus Entries Near failing

Cite this Entry

“Failing.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

More from Merriam-Webster on failing

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.