Meaning of FAULT in English


something wrong

1. something wrong with a machine, system, plan etc

2. a fault in someone’s character

when somebody causes something bad to happen

3. when something bad is someone’s fault

4. when something is not someone’s fault




see also




1. something wrong with a machine, system, plan etc

▷ fault /fɔːlt/ [countable noun]

something wrong with one of the parts of a machine that prevents it from working properly :

▪ Quality control staff are employed to check for any faults.

fault in

▪ I think there’s a fault in one of the loudspeakers.

▪ The fault could be either in the tape or in the VCR.

electrical/mechanical/technical etc fault

▪ The rocket launch was delayed because of a technical fault.

▷ defect /ˈdiːfekt, dɪˈfekt/ [countable noun]

something wrong with a product or machine, especially caused by a mistake in the way it was made or designed :

▪ All the computers are checked for defects before they leave the factory.

defect in

▪ A defect in the braking system caused several accidents before the car was recalled.

▪ Investigators found a defect in the design of the ship.

▷ problem /ˈprɒbləmǁˈprɑː-/ [countable noun]

something that stops a machine or system from working normally :

▪ Please call 5326 if you have any computer problems.

problem with

▪ There seems to be some kind of problem with the heaters.

problem in

▪ Engineers were unable to find the source of the problem in the spacecraft’s cooling system.

▷ trouble /ˈtrʌb ə l/ [uncountable noun]

something wrong with a machine, car etc, especially when you do not know exactly what is causing it :

▪ If you have engine trouble, park as far to the side of the road as possible.

have trouble

▪ If you used the same tape later and had no trouble with the picture, the problem is probably in the VCR.

trouble with

▪ We’ve been having some trouble with the air-conditioning.

the trouble

the particular thing causing the problem

▪ I think we’ve found out what the trouble is.

▷ flaw/weakness /flɔː, ˈwiːknə̇s/ [countable noun]

something wrong with a plan, system, or set of ideas, which may make the whole thing useless or not effective :

▪ His plan seemed foolproof, but I was sure there was a flaw somewhere.

▪ The program has serious weaknesses, and I would avoid using it.

flaw/weakness in

▪ There are several obvious flaws in his argument.

▪ One major weakness in the study is that it is based on a very small sample.

▷ bug /bʌg/ [countable noun]

a small problem in a computer or a computer system :

▪ The program suffers from some minor bugs, but is still better than the first version.

▪ Some chips contained a bug that caused computers to crash frequently.

▷ glitch /glɪtʃ/ [countable noun]

a small fault in the way something works, that can usually be corrected easily :

▪ As the glitches are found and corrected, the process is speeding up.

glitch in

▪ A glitch in the system shut down the telephone service to nearly 6 million customers.

technical/mechanical etc glitch

▪ NASA officials found a way to work around the technical glitch on the Galileo spacecraft.

▷ virus /ˈvaɪ ə rəs/ [countable noun]

a set of instructions that someone puts secretly into other people’s computers, that can destroy information stored in them or stop them working correctly :

▪ The disk was accidentally infected with a virus called ‘Stoned III’.

▪ Computer users from around the world reported that the virus had invaded their systems.

▪ an anti-virus program

▷ be something wrong with/be something the matter with /biː something ˈrɒŋ wɪðǁ-ˈrɔːŋ-, biː something ðə ˈmætəʳ wɪð/ [verb phrase] spoken

say this when there is a problem in a machine, part of a car etc, but you do not know exactly what it is :

▪ I think there’s something wrong with the clutch in my car.

▪ I don’t know what’s the matter with it, but I can’t get it to work.

▪ There are programs that will help you figure out what’s wrong with your PC, and help you correct it.

2. a fault in someone’s character

▷ fault /fɔːlt/ [countable noun usually plural]

a bad point in someone’s character :

▪ The secret of a good relationship is to accept the other person’s faults, and not try to make them change.

have his/her/their faults

▪ She’s my best friend and I love her dearly, but she has her faults.

for all his/her/their faults

even though they have these faults

▪ For all his faults, he was a good father.

▷ flaw/weakness /flɔː, ˈwiːknə̇s/ [countable noun]

a small fault in someone’s character or a lack of a good quality such as courage or good judgement :

▪ The flaw that leads to Othello’s downfall is his jealousy.

▪ The biographer believes that flaws in Kennedy’s character weakened his leadership of the nation.

▪ Despite his weaknesses, he was a fair man.

▷ shortcomings /ˈʃɔːʳtkʌmɪŋz/ [plural noun]

the faults in someone’s character - use this especially when you are saying that the person has good qualities too :

▪ He acknowledged his own shortcomings, including at times being stubborn and a little vain.

▪ Whatever his shortcomings, Hamilton was one of the great men in American history.

3. when something bad is someone’s fault

▷ be somebody’s fault /biː somebodyˈs ˈfɔːlt/ [verb phrase]

if something is someone’s fault, they are responsible for it, especially because they made a mistake :

▪ He played very well, and it is not his fault we lost.

be somebody’s own fault

when someone is responsible for something bad that happens to them

▪ Marie failed the exam, but it was her own fault - she didn’t do any work.

be sb’s fault (that)

▪ I’m so sorry. It’s my fault that we’re so late.

be sb’s fault for doing something

▪ Of course she was angry - but it’s your fault for telling her about the whole thing in the first place.

the fault of somebody

▪ Suggesting that our problems are the fault of someone else won’t solve anything.

▷ be to blame /biː tə ˈbleɪm/ [verb phrase]

if someone or something is to blame for a bad situation, they caused it :

▪ When kids do badly at school, it’s not always the teachers who are to blame.

be to blame for

▪ Some people think television is to blame for a lot of the problems in modern society.

▪ She was as much to blame for the breakup of their marriage as he was.

▷ be responsible /biː rɪˈspɒnsə̇b ə lǁ-ˈspɑːn-/ [verb phrase]

if someone is responsible for an accident, crime etc, they caused it and they should be punished for it :

▪ The police are trying to find out who was responsible.

be responsible for

▪ There is a reward for information leading to the arrest of the people responsible for the explosion.

feel responsible

think that something is your fault

▪ I knew the accident wasn’t really my fault, but I can’t help feeling a little responsible.

▷ be at fault /biː ət ˈfɔːlt/ [verb phrase]

if someone, especially a group of people or an organization, is at fault, they are responsible for something bad that has happened because they did not behave correctly or did not take enough care :

▪ The accident report found both drivers to be at fault.

be at fault for doing something

▪ With regard to the chaos after the earthquake, many people believe the government is at fault for not responding quickly enough.

▷ only have yourself to blame /ˌəʊnli hæv jɔːʳˈself tə ˌbleɪm/ [verb phrase not in progressive]

if you only have yourself to blame for something bad that has happened, it is your own fault that it happened and you should not feel sorry for yourself :

▪ His wife’s left him but he only has himself to blame.

only have yourself to blame for doing something

▪ I’ve only got myself to blame for losing the race.

▷ blame yourself /ˌbleɪm jɔːʳˈself/ [verb phrase]

to think that it is your fault that something bad has happened, so that you feel very upset or ashamed :

▪ You mustn’t blame yourself -- it wasn’t your fault.

▪ Children sometimes feel responsible for their parents divorcing and blame themselves.

blame yourself for

▪ He never stopped blaming himself for his wife’s death.

4. when something is not someone’s fault

▷ be not somebody’s fault /biː nɒt somebodyˈs ˈfɔːlt/ [verb phrase]

if something is not someone’s fault, they did not make it happen and they should not be blamed for it :

▪ Try not to worry about it too much - it’s not your fault.

▪ She felt guilty, even though the accident wasn’t her fault.

be not sb’s fault (that)

▪ It wasn’t the builders’ fault that the work wasn’t finished on time.

▷ through no fault of your own /θruː nəʊ ˌfɔːlt əv jɔːr ˈəʊn/ [adverb]

if something bad happens through no fault of your own, it is not your fault that it happens but you suffer because of it :

▪ The center exists to help those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

▪ Because of the budget cuts, some students, through no fault of their own, may have a hard time paying their way.

▷ not be to blame /nɒt biː tə ˈbleɪm/ [verb phrase]

to not be responsible for something bad that happens - use this especially when other people think you might have done something to make it happen :

▪ The press won’t leave him alone, but he wasn’t really to blame.

not be to blame for

▪ Hospital workers were not to blame for a nine-year-old’s death, a court decided yesterday.

▪ The report said that no one was to blame for the accident.

▷ can’t help it /ˌkɑːnt ˈhelp ɪtǁˌkænt-/ [verb phrase] especially spoken

use this to say that someone should not be blamed for something because they cannot stop it from happening :

▪ ‘Stop walking up and down like that!’ ‘I can’t help it - I’m really nervous.’

▪ I tried not to cry but I just couldn’t help it.

can’t help it if

▪ He can’t help it if they didn’t understand what he was telling them to do.

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