Other forms: faults; faulted; faulting

A fault is an error caused by ignorance, bad judgment or inattention. If you're a passenger, it might be your fault that your friend missed the exit, if you were supposed to be watching for it, not sleeping.

Fault can mean "blame" — as a noun or verb. If you say, "It's my fault," you accept the blame. Well, they can't fault you for telling the truth, at least. A fault can be a shortcoming — everyone has faults because no one is perfect — or a crack in the earth's crust, like the San Andreas Fault. In sports like tennis, a fault is an illegal hit of the ball, usually when it lands outside the playing area.

Definitions of fault
  1. noun
    an imperfection in an object or machine
    synonyms: defect, flaw
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    a flaw on a surface resulting when an applied substance does not adhere (as an air bubble in a coat of paint)
    bug, glitch
    a fault or defect in a computer program, system, or machine
    a fault
    type of:
    imperfection, imperfectness
    the state or an instance of being imperfect
  2. noun
    the quality of being inadequate or falling short of perfection
    “he knew his own faults much better than she did”
    synonyms: demerit
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    merit, virtue
    any admirable quality or attribute
    type of:
    the quality that renders something desirable or valuable or useful
  3. noun
    a wrong action attributable to bad judgment or ignorance or inattention
    “I could understand his English in spite of his grammatical faults
    synonyms: error, mistake
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    blot, smear, smirch, spot, stain
    an act that brings discredit to the person who does it
    confusion, mix-up
    a mistake that results from taking one thing to be another
    the mistake of incurring liability or blame
    miscalculation, misestimation, misreckoning
    a mistake in calculating
    the mistake of misrepresenting the facts
    miscue, parapraxis, slip, slip-up
    a minor inadvertent mistake usually observed in speech or writing or in small accidents or memory lapses etc.
    (sport) the mistake of occupying an illegal position on the playing field (in football, soccer, ice hockey, field hockey, etc.)
    lapse, oversight
    a mistake resulting from inattention
    omission, skip
    a mistake resulting from neglect
    bloomer, blooper, blunder, boo-boo, botch, bungle, flub, foul-up, pratfall
    an embarrassing mistake
    balls-up, ballup, cockup, mess-up
    something badly botched or muddled
    betise, folly, foolishness, imbecility, stupidity
    a stupid mistake
    renege, revoke
    the mistake of not following suit when able to do so
    an unexpected omission
    the momentary juggling of a batted or thrown baseball
    backfire, boomerang
    a miscalculation that recoils on its maker
    rounding, rounding error
    (mathematics) a miscalculation that results from rounding off numbers to a convenient number of decimals
    truncation error
    (mathematics) a miscalculation that results from cutting off a numerical calculation before it is finished
    Freudian slip
    a slip-up that (according to Sigmund Freud) results from the operation of unconscious wishes or conflicts and can reveal unconscious processes in normal healthy individuals
    a blunder that makes you look ridiculous; used in the phrase `make a spectacle of' yourself
    a serious and ludicrous blunder
    fumble, muff
    (sports) dropping the ball
    a blunder (especially an actor's forgetting the lines)
    faux pas, gaffe, gaucherie, slip, solecism
    a socially awkward or tactless act
    a glaring blunder
    a conspicuous mistake whose effects seem to reverberate
    misstep, stumble, trip, trip-up
    an unintentional but embarrassing blunder
    type of:
    nonaccomplishment, nonachievement
    an act that does not achieve its intended goal
  4. noun
    (electronics) equipment failure attributable to some defect in a circuit (loose connection or insulation failure or short circuit etc.)
    “it took much longer to find the fault than to fix it”
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    type of:
    breakdown, equipment failure
    a cessation of normal operation
  5. noun
    (sports) a serve that is illegal (e.g., that lands outside the prescribed area)
    “he served too many double faults
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    double fault
    (tennis) two successive faults in serving resulting in the loss of the point
    a fault that occurs when the server in tennis fails to keep both feet behind the baseline
    type of:
    serve, service
    (sports) a stroke that puts the ball in play
  6. noun
    responsibility for a bad situation or event
    “it was John's fault
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    type of:
    responsibility, responsibleness
    a form of trustworthiness; the trait of being answerable to someone for something or being responsible for one's conduct
  7. verb
    put or pin the blame on
    synonyms: blame
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    absolve, free, justify
    excuse or free from blame
    blame or punish someone for the errors of others
    type of:
    accuse, charge
    blame for, make a claim of wrongdoing or misbehavior against
  8. noun
    (geology) a crack in the earth's crust resulting from the displacement of one side with respect to the other
    “they built it right over a geological fault
    synonyms: break, faulting, fracture, geological fault, shift
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    Denali Fault
    a major open geological fault in Alaska
    San Andreas Fault
    a major geological fault in California; runs from San Diego to San Francisco; the source of serious earthquakes
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    inclined fault
    a geological fault in which one side is above the other
    strike-slip fault
    a geological fault in which one of the adjacent surfaces appears to have moved horizontally
    common fault, gravity fault, normal fault
    an inclined fault in which the hanging wall appears to have slipped downward relative to the footwall
    overthrust fault, reverse fault, thrust fault
    a geological fault in which the upper side appears to have been pushed upward by compression
    type of:
    cleft, crack, crevice, fissure, scissure
    a long narrow opening




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DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘fault'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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