Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends: the failure of an experiment.
  • n. One that fails: a failure at one's career.
  • n. The condition or fact of being insufficient or falling short: a crop failure.
  • n. A cessation of proper functioning or performance: a power failure.
  • n. Nonperformance of what is requested or expected; omission: failure to report a change of address.
  • n. The act or fact of failing to pass a course, test, or assignment.
  • n. A decline in strength or effectiveness.
  • n. The act or fact of becoming bankrupt or insolvent.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. State or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, opposite of success.
  • n. An object, person or endeavour in a state of failure or incapable of success.
  • n. Termination of the ability of an item to perform its required function, breakdown.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Cessation of supply, or total defect; a failing; deficiency
  • n. Omission; nonperformance.
  • n. Want of success; the state of having failed.
  • n. Decay, or defect from decay; deterioration.
  • n. A becoming insolvent; bankruptcy; suspension of payment.
  • n. A failing; a slight fault.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A failing; deficiency; default; cessation of supply or total defect: as, the failure of springs or streams; failure of crops.
  • n. Omission; non-performance: as, the failure of a promise or an engagement.
  • n. Decay, or defect from decay: as, the failure of memory or of sight.
  • n. The act of failing, or the state of having failed to accomplish a purpose or attain an object; want of success: as, the failures of life.
  • n. The condition of becoming bankrupt by reason of insolvency; confession of insolvency; a becoming insolvent or bankrupt: as, the failure of a merchant or a bank.
  • n. Neglect.
  • n. Miscarriage.
  • n. Failure, Insolvency, Bankruptcy, Suspension. “Insolvency is a state; failure, an act flowing out of that state; and bankruptcy, an effect of that act” (Crabb). A bank may be insolvent—that is, unable to pay all its debts—without there being a public knowledge of the fact; it is a just law that makes it a criminal offense for a bank officer to receive deposits when he knows his bank to be insolvent. Failure is the popular and common name indicating the cessation of business on account of insolvency, especially if produced by the actual lack of money to meet some demand. Bankruptcy is often in popular use the same as insolvency, but it is more often used of the legal state of those who have surrendered their property to their creditors on account of their insolvency, or of the proceedings in connection therewith: as, he is going through bankruptcy. Suspension, or stoppage of payment, is in the nature of temporary failure, depending upon temporary disabilities not necessarily involving insolvency. Upon converting assets into money or getting an extension of credit, one who has suspended may be able to resume business. Insolvency and bankruptcy, in the legal sense, continue, in respect to past obligations, until the insolvent or bankrupt is formally discharged by the courts.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an unexpected omission
  • n. a person with a record of failing; someone who loses consistently
  • n. loss of ability to function normally
  • n. an act that fails
  • n. an event that does not accomplish its intended purpose
  • n. lack of success
  • n. inability to discharge all your debts as they come due

Etymologies

Alteration of failer, default, from Anglo-Norman, from Old French faillir, to fail; see fail.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman failer, from Old French faillir ("to fail"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Wordnik is becoming a not-for-profit! Read our announcement here.

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.