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

  • n. A character weakness, especially a minor one.
  • n. Something that impairs or detracts from physical perfection; a defect. See Synonyms at blemish.
  • n. A mistake; an error.
  • n. A minor offense or misdeed.
  • n. Responsibility for a mistake or an offense; culpability. See Synonyms at blame.
  • n. Geology A fracture in the continuity of a rock formation caused by a shifting or dislodging of the earth's crust, in which adjacent surfaces are displaced relative to one another and parallel to the plane of fracture. Also called shift.
  • n. Electronics A defect in a circuit or wiring caused by imperfect connections, poor insulation, grounding, or shorting.
  • n. Sports A bad service, as in tennis.
  • n. Obsolete A lack or deficiency.
  • transitive v. To find error or defect in; criticize or blame.
  • transitive v. Geology To produce a fault in; fracture.
  • intransitive v. To commit a mistake or an error.
  • intransitive v. Geology To shift so as to produce a fault.
  • idiom at fault Deserving of blame; guilty: admitted to being at fault.
  • idiom at fault Confused and puzzled.
  • idiom find fault To seek, find, and complain about faults; criticize: found fault with his speech.
  • idiom to a fault To an excessive degree: generous to a fault.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A defect; something that detracts from perfection.
  • n. A mistake or error.
  • n. A weakness of character.
  • n. A minor offense.
  • n. Blame; the responsibility for a mistake.
  • n. A fracture in a rock formation causing a discontinuity
  • n. An illegal serve.
  • n. An abnormal connection in a circuit.
  • v. To criticize, blame or find fault with something or someone.
  • v. To fracture.
  • v. To commit a mistake or error.
  • v. To undergo a page fault.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Defect; want; lack; default.
  • n. Anything that fails, that is wanting, or that impairs excellence; a failing; a defect; a blemish.
  • n. A moral failing; a defect or dereliction from duty; a deviation from propriety; an offense less serious than a crime.
  • n.
  • n. A dislocation of the strata of the vein.
  • n. In coal seams, coal rendered worthless by impurities in the seam
  • n. A lost scent; act of losing the scent.
  • n. Failure to serve the ball into the proper court.
  • n. A defective point in an electric circuit due to a crossing of the parts of the conductor, or to contact with another conductor or the earth, or to a break in the circuit.
  • n. A dislocation caused by a slipping of rock masses along a plane of facture; also, the dislocated structure resulting from such slipping.
  • intransitive v. To err; to blunder, to commit a fault; to do wrong.
  • transitive v. To charge with a fault; to accuse; to find fault with; to blame.
  • transitive v. To interrupt the continuity of (rock strata) by displacement along a plane of fracture; -- chiefly used in the p. p..

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To lack.
  • To charge with a fault; find fault with; reproach.
  • In geology, to cause a fault in.
  • To scent or see; find out; discover.
  • To be in fault; be wrong; fail.
  • n. Defect; lack; want; failure. See default.
  • n. A lack; a defect; an imperfection; a failing, blemish, or flaw; any lack or impairment of excellence: applied to things.
  • n. An error or defect of judgment or conduct; any deviation from prudence, rectitude, or duty; any shortcoming, or neglect of care or performance, resulting from inattention, incapacity, or perversity; a wrong tendency, course, or act.
  • n. An occasion of blame or censure; a particular cause for reprehension or disapproval: as, to charge one with a fault, or find fault with one.
  • n. Blame; censure; reproach.
  • n. The act of losing the scent; a lost scent: said of sporting dogs.
  • n. In geology, a severing of the continuity of a body of rock by a break through the mass, attended by movement on one side or the other of the break, so that what were once parts of one continuous stratum are now separated.
  • n. In tennis, a stroke by which the server fails to drive the ball into the proper part of his opponent's court. See lawn-tennis.
  • n. In telegraphy, a new path opened to a current by any accident; a derived current, or derivation.
  • n. In hunting, thrown off the scent or the trail; unable to find the scent, as dogs.
  • n. Unable to proceed, by reason of some embarrassment or uncertainty; puzzled; out of bearing; astray.
  • n. Synonyms Flaw.
  • n. Misdeed, misdemeanor, transgression, wrong-doing, delinquency, weakness, slip, indiscretion.

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

  • n. (geology) a crack in the earth's crust resulting from the displacement of one side with respect to the other
  • n. responsibility for a bad situation or event
  • n. a wrong action attributable to bad judgment or ignorance or inattention
  • v. put or pin the blame on
  • n. the quality of being inadequate or falling short of perfection
  • n. (sports) a serve that is illegal (e.g., that lands outside the prescribed area)
  • n. an imperfection in an object or machine
  • n. (electronics) equipment failure attributable to some defect in a circuit (loose connection or insulation failure or short circuit etc.)


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

Middle English faulte, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *fallita, from variant of Latin falsa, feminine past participle of fallere, to deceive, fail.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French faute, faulte, from Middle English faulte, faute, from Anglo-Norman faute, faulte, from Vulgar Latin *fallita (“shortcoming”), from Latin falsus, perfect passive participle of fallō ("deceive"). Displaced native Middle English schuld, schuild ("fault") (from Old English scyld ("fault")), Middle English lac ("fault, lack") (from Middle Dutch lak ("lack, fault")), Middle English last ("fault, vice") (from Old Norse lǫstr, löstr ("fault, vice, crime")).


  • Apostles Peter and Paul, and to all the saints, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed, _through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault_. '

    Madame Delphine

  • She has by turns every fault under the sun, -- I say _fault_ only; will struggle with one for a day, and succumb to it for a month; while the smallest amount of praise is sufficient to render her incapable of deserving a word of commendation for a week.

    The Vicar's Daughter

  • A fault done nrft ia the form of a beaft, — O Jove, a beaftly fault; and then another fault in the femblance of a fowl: - — think on't, Jove, a foul fault# When gods have hot backs, what (hall poor men do? for me, I am here a Windfor ftag, and the fatteft, I think, i 'th' fbreft.


  • Its main fault is that justice repeats the offence.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Gradually he comes to understand their fault is his own, running away instead of confronting what he finds abominable.

    Thunder Rock

  • READDY: Well, obviously we're trying to build what we call the fault tree in the business and that is try and figure out all the possible things that might have gone wrong, and then what we do is work backwards and by process of elimination rule out those things that could not have been the causal factor.

    CNN Transcript Feb 2, 2003

  • To the west of the fault is the Pacific plate, which runs beneath the ocean to the Mariana trench — where it disappears beneath the Philippine plate.

    Living on the Fault Line

  • If we do not find them, if we fail to represent them, the fault is ours.

    Saul Bellow - Nobel Lecture

  • If they occasionally misunderstand some of the fundamental principles of our Imperial Government, the fault is ours, because we haven't taken the trouble to explain to them clearly.

    The Empire In These Days

  • As far as I understand, the best sailors prefer to go down with their ship if the fault is theirs, rather than survive the disaster.

    Jenny: A Novel


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