If you experience failure, things have not gone the way you'd hoped. I'm sorry to hear that your attempt to turn hay into gold has been a failure.

Failure can also mean when something suddenly stops working or when you don't do something that you're expected to. A power failure might create an opportunity for a romantic candlelight dinner. Your failure to pay the electric bill may lead to a lot of romantic candlelight dinners, as long as you at least paid the gas bill. Someone who has no success in life a failure, as is an effort that doesn't work like your failure of a presidential campaign.

Primary Meanings of failure

an act that fails
inability to discharge all your debts as they come due
Full Definitions of failure

n an act that fails

“his failure to pass the test”
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failing, flunk
failure to reach a minimum required performance
complete failure
the act of losing someone or something
backsliding, lapse, lapsing, relapse, relapsing, reversion, reverting
a failure to maintain a higher state
error, misplay
(baseball) a failure of a defensive player to make an out when normal play would have sufficed
(baseball) a failure by a batter or runner to reach a base safely in baseball
nonconformance, nonconformity
failure to conform to accepted standards of behavior
default, nonpayment, nonremittal
act of failing to meet a financial obligation
loss due to not showing up
capitulation, fall, surrender
the act of surrendering (usually under agreed conditions)
habitual relapse into crime
an out resulting from a fielding play (not a strikeout)
an out resulting from the batter getting three strikes
a lack of conformity with law or custom or practice etc.
Type of:
nonaccomplishment, nonachievement
an act that does not achieve its intended goal

n an event that does not accomplish its intended purpose

“the surprise party was a complete failure
an event that accomplishes its intended purpose
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downfall, ruin, ruination
failure that results in a loss of position or reputation
a complete or conspicuous failure
a failure to function normally
abortion, miscarriage
failure of a plan
misfire, miss
a failure to hit (or meet or find etc)
bust, fizzle, flop
a complete failure
malformation, miscreation
something abnormal or anomalous
breakdown, equipment failure
a cessation of normal operation
defeat, licking
an unsuccessful ending to a struggle or contest
a sudden malfunction of a part or apparatus
a malfunction in the flight of an aircraft in which there is a sudden loss of lift that results in a downward plunge
the downfall of someone (as of persons on one side of a conflict)
bomb, dud, turkey
an event that fails badly or is totally ineffectual
something hideous or frightful
brake failure
brakes fail to stop a vehicle
engine failure
engine does not run
dud, misfire
an explosion that fails to occur
a temporary suspension of operation (as of computers)
power failure, power outage
equipment failure resulting when the supply of power fails
(electronics) equipment failure attributable to some defect in a circuit (loose connection or insulation failure or short circuit etc.)
a narrow defeat or a defeat at the last minute
a decisive defeat in a game (especially in cribbage)
an overwhelming defeat
shutout, skunk
a defeat in a game where one side fails to score
debacle, drubbing, slaughter, thrashing, trouncing, walloping, whipping
a sound defeat
a final crushing defeat
a defeat in which the losing person or team fails to score
a failure to sustain social norms or expected conditions
Type of:
happening, natural event, occurrence, occurrent
an event that happens

n lack of success

“he felt that his entire life had been a failure
“that year there was a crop failure
a state of prosperity or fame
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a state of complete lack of some abstract property
bank failure
the inability of a bank to meet its credit obligations
crop failure
the failure of crops to produce a marketable surplus
dead duck
something doomed to failure
Type of:
circumstances, destiny, fate, fortune, lot, luck, portion
your overall circumstances or condition in life (including everything that happens to you)

n a person with a record of failing; someone who loses consistently

loser, nonstarter, unsuccessful person
achiever, succeeder, success, winner
a person with a record of successes
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bankrupt, insolvent
someone who has insufficient assets to cover their debts
flash in the pan
someone who enjoys transient success but then fails
dud, flop, washout
someone who is unsuccessful
one at a disadvantage and expected to lose
Type of:
unfortunate, unfortunate person
a person who suffers misfortune

n an unexpected omission

“he resented my failure to return his call”
“the mechanic's failure to check the brakes”
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dashing hopes, disappointment
an act (or failure to act) that disappoints someone
a failure to perform some promised act or obligation
a failure to face some difficulty squarely
breach of contract
a breach of a legal duty; failure to do something that is required in a contract
breach of duty
a breach of due care
Type of:
omission, skip
a mistake resulting from neglect

n loss of ability to function normally

“kidney failure
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coronary failure, heart failure
inability of the heart to pump enough blood to sustain normal bodily functions
kidney failure, renal failure
inability of the kidneys to excrete wastes and to help maintain the electrolyte balance
congestive heart failure
inability to pump enough blood to avoid congestion in the tissues
heart attack
a sudden severe instance of abnormal heart function
acute kidney failure, acute renal failure
renal failure associated with burns or other trauma or with acute infection or obstruction of the urinary tract
chronic kidney failure, chronic renal failure
renal failure that can result from a variety of systemic disorders
Type of:
disorder, upset
a physical condition in which there is a disturbance of normal functioning

n inability to discharge all your debts as they come due

“fraudulent loans led to the failure of many banks”
Type of:
the lack of financial resources

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