fault [fawlt] /fɔlt/ Show IPA
a defect or imperfection; flaw; failing:
a fault in the brakes; a fault in one's character.
responsibility for failure or a wrongful act:
It is my fault that we have not finished.
an error or mistake:
a fault in addition.
a misdeed or transgression:
to confess one's faults.
a ball that when served does not land in the proper section of an opponent's court.
a failure to serve the ball according to the rules, as from within a certain area.
Geology, Mining. a break in the continuity of a body of rock or of a vein, with dislocation along the plane of the fracture (fault plane)
Manège. (of a horse jumping in a show) any of a number of improper executions in negotiating a jump, as a tick, knockdown, refusal, or run-out.
Electricity. a partial or total local failure in the insulation or continuity of a conductor or in the functioning of an electric system.
Hunting. a break in the line of scent; a losing of the scent; check.
Obsolete. lack; want.
verb (used without object)
to commit a fault; blunder; err.
Geology. to undergo faulting.
verb (used with object)
Geology. to cause a fault in.
to find fault with, blame, or censure.
open to censure; blameworthy:
to be at fault for a mistake.
in a dilemma; puzzled:
to be at fault as to where to go.
(of hounds) unable to find the scent.
to seek and make known defects or flaws; complain; criticize:
He constantly found fault with my behavior.
to a fault,
to an extreme degree; excessively:
She was generous to a fault.
1250–1300; Middle English faute < Anglo-French, Middle French < Vulgar Latin *fallita, noun use of feminine of *fallitus, for Latin falsus, past participle of fallere to be wrong
1. blemish; frailty, shortcoming. Fault, failing, foible, weakness, vice imply shortcomings or imperfections in a person. Fault is the common word used to refer to any of the average shortcomings of a person; when it is used, condemnation is not necessarily implied: Of his many faults the greatest is vanity. Foible, failing, weakness all tend to excuse the person referred to. Of these foible is the mildest, suggesting a weak point that is slight and often amusing, manifesting itself in eccentricity rather than in wrongdoing: the foibles of artists. Weakness suggests that the person in question is unable to control a particular impulse, and gives way to self-indulgence: a weakness for pretty women. Failing is closely akin to fault except that it is particularly applied to humanity at large, suggesting common, often venial, shortcomings: Procrastination and making excuses are common failings. Vice (which may also apply to a sin in itself, apart from a person: the vice of gambling ) is the strongest term, and designates a habit that is truly detrimental or evil.
1. virtue, strength, merit.