Word of the Day Archive
Saturday August 4, 2001
fallible \FAL-uh-bul\ , adjective:
1. Liable to make a mistake.
2. Liable to be inaccurate or erroneous.
But human beings are fallible. We know we all make mistakes.
-- Robert S. McNamara, "et al.", Argument Without End
Jack Kerouac was neither a demon nor a saint but a fallible, notably gentle, deeply conflicted and finally self-destructive person whose dream from childhood was to be a writer.
-- Morris Dickstein, "Beyond Beat", New York Times, August 9, 1998
On the other hand, mathematics does not rely on evidence from fallible experimentation, but it is built on infallible logic.
-- Simon Singh, Fermat's Enigma
Fallible derives from Medieval Latin fallibilis, from Latin fallere, "to deceive." It is related to fail, false (from falsum, the past participle of fallere), fallacy ("a false notion"), fault (from Old French falte, from fallere), and faucet (from Old Provençal falsar, "to falsify, to create a fault in, to bore through," from fallere).