\ 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

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 There’s a sense that a memoirist should make some gesture of acknowledging complicity or fault before proceeding. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 26 June 2022 These sudden movements radiate outward from the fault as seismic waves, which cause the ground to shake. Sasha Warren, Scientific American, 24 June 2022 Some residents, however, found fault with the ordinance. Steve Smith, Hartford Courant, 23 June 2022 If a boss shows favoritism, or chews out an employee over something not the person’s fault, or schedules a worker for a difficult shift, then pressure for a union will grow. Bill Conerly, Forbes, 22 June 2022 Hapag declined to comment on the commission’s case but told the judge that its practices were reasonable and that any fees were the trucking firm’s fault. John Francis Peters, ProPublica, 16 June 2022 According to Gomberg, the earthquakes occurred along the Blanco Fracture Zone, a fault between two tectonic plates that runs about 300 miles northwest of the Oregon coast and tends to generate a lot of small earthquakes. oregonlive, 16 June 2022 Google did not admit fault as part of the settlement. Emma Hinchliffe And Paige Mcglauflin, Fortune, 14 June 2022 But the fault really will fall on Belichick’s shoulders for not putting a better staff around his young QB. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 8 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb At the same time, server crashes or fault tolerance also become the responsibility of the provider. Peter Shubenok, Forbes, 7 June 2022 Each season took an in-depth look at what the creators believed to be the fractures, fault lines and failures of key institutions from police policy to the schools. Mary Carole Mccauley, Baltimore Sun, 2 June 2022 Quakes on rocky celestial bodies can be triggered by a number of different things: fault lines, volcanoes, meteor strikes and even the influence of other planets. Joanna Thompson, Scientific American, 24 May 2022 Before any official investigation or court ruling, the home minister of the state, Madhya Pradesh, appeared to fault the Muslims and ordered demolitions — the same swift, one-sided punishments imposed in two other states over recent clashes. New York Times, 11 May 2022 Lara, who spent two years researching shark migration patterns off Mexico’s Socorro Island, refuses to fault men like Lucero. Adam Skolnick, Outside Online, 4 May 2022 President Barack Obama would find little to fault about the jurisprudence of his choices for the court, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Robert Barnes, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Apr. 2022 Church affiliation is just one of the Ukraine-vs.-Russia fault lines that now split this country, along with language and even styles of borscht. Washington Post, 7 Feb. 2022 While some fault President Joe Biden for missing indicators, experts say Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the lingering COVID pandemic complicated efforts to tame inflation. Joey Garrison, USA TODAY, 3 June 2022 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.

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

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fault.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fault. Accessed 3 Jul. 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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