\ 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The Red Sox haven’t been sure how best to use righthander Tanner Houck this season — and part of that was his fault. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 20 May 2022 The environmental groups point out that the companies singled out in the report shouldn’t be embarrassed by the numbers, which are not exactly their fault. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, 20 May 2022 Not all were his fault, though, as the top-seeded and finally healthy Avalanche flew through the Predators defenders. Mike Brehm, USA TODAY, 4 May 2022 The district took the stance that because the pandemic was out of its control, any lapse in services wasn’t its fault, documents released Thursday show. Sara Randazzo, WSJ, 29 Apr. 2022 Some of those movies not happening were definitely my fault. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 28 Apr. 2022 Lawyers for the Crumbleys argue that's a misrepresentation of what really happened, maintaining their clients did look after their son, and that the events that unfolded at Oxford High School were not their fault. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, 13 Apr. 2022 For five years, Yovani Gallardo was the star of the rotation, even though the Brewers remarkably had a 1-4 record in his opening day starts (though a 7-6 loss to kick off 2011 was decidedly not his fault after a bullpen meltdown against the Reds). Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5 Apr. 2022 Rushlow took her friend's advice to research Prophet Mohammed, whom Muslims believe is the messenger of the faith, but with the goal to find fault with the beliefs. Aya Elamroussi, CNN, 1 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The results -- and the marked partisan and demographic splits that characterize them -- highlight the nuances and fault lines that mark Americans' response to Covid-19 more than two years after the start of the pandemic. Ariel Edwards-levy, CNN, 6 Apr. 2022 But if some criticize Mr. Bennett for working too closely with Arab Israelis and making too many concessions to Palestinians, others fault him for not making enough. New York Times, 1 Apr. 2022 Hanemann doesn’t fault the San Diego County Water Authority for its investments. San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Feb. 2022 Bitonio didn’t fault coach Kevin Stefanski for not sticking with the run last time, but said commitment is key. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 12 Dec. 2021 Macdonald could just pinpoint the funny in things the way a seismograph detects fault lines deep below the earth. John Roy, Vulture, 15 Sep. 2021 Unlike many fans, Jones does not fault Carrie for choosing one final embrace over calling 911. Washington Post, 16 Aug. 2021 Soybean groups and Diamond Alternative Energy LLC, a Valero Energy Corp. subsidiary, fault the EPA rule for favoring electric vehicles over renewable fuels and other technologies for reducing emissions. Joel Rosenblatt, Fortune, 1 Mar. 2022 But who can fault Yun for wanting to make clear the ways in which women live under constant threat, with daily insults building up over time? Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2021 See More

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 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fault.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fault. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for fault


\ 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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