from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends.
  • noun One that fails.
  • noun The condition or fact of being insufficient or falling short.
  • noun A cessation of proper functioning or performance.
  • noun Nonperformance of what is requested or expected; omission.
  • noun The act or fact of failing to pass a course, test, or assignment.
  • noun A decline in strength or effectiveness.
  • noun The act or fact of becoming bankrupt or insolvent.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A failing; deficiency; default; cessation of supply or total defect: as, the failure of springs or streams; failure of crops.
  • noun Omission; non-performance: as, the failure of a promise or an engagement.
  • noun Decay, or defect from decay: as, the failure of memory or of sight.
  • noun 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Neglect.
  • noun Miscarriage.
  • noun 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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


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

[Alteration of failer, default, from Anglo-Norman, from Old French faillir, to fail; see fail.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman failer, from Old French faillir ("to fail").


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