Meaning of FAULT in English

I. fault 1 S2 W3 /fɔːlt $ fɒːlt/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ faultless , ↑ faulty ; verb : ↑ fault ; noun : ↑ fault ; adverb : ↑ faultlessly ]

[ Date: 1200-1300 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: faute , from Latin fallere ; ⇨ ↑ fail 1 ]

1 . RESPONSIBLE FOR MISTAKE if something bad that has happened is your fault, you should be blamed for it, because you made a mistake or failed to do something:

I’m really sorry – it’s all my fault.

be sb’s fault (that)

It’s your fault we’re late.

I didn’t sleep well that night, but it was my own fault.

be sb’s fault for doing something

It’s my fault for not making your new job clearer.

2 . at fault if someone is at fault, they are responsible for something bad that has happened:

The police said that the other driver was at fault.

Some people claim that it is the UN that is at fault.


a) something that is wrong with a machine, system, design etc, which prevents it from working properly:

a design fault

fault in

It sounds as if there’s a fault in one of the loudspeakers.

b) something that is wrong with something, which could be improved SYN flaw :

There are two serious faults in Hobsbawm’s discussion of nationalism.

For all its faults (=in spite of its faults) we love this city.

c) a mistake in the way that something was made, which spoils its appearance

fault in

The sweater had a fault in it and I had to take it back.

4 . SB’S CHARACTER a bad or weak part of someone’s character:

His worst fault is his arrogance.

I may have my faults, but ingratitude is not one of them.

For all his faults (=in spite of his faults) he was a good father.

5 . through no fault of her/my etc own used to say that something bad that happened to someone was not caused by them:

Through no fault of our own we are currently two players short.

6 . CRACK a large crack in the rocks that form the Earth’s surface:

the San Andreas fault

7 . generous/loyal/honest etc to a fault extremely generous, kind etc:

Barry’s kind, caring and generous to a fault.

8 . TENNIS a mistake made when a player is ↑ serving the ball in tennis

⇨ ↑ double fault , ⇨ find fault with somebody/something at ↑ find 1 (14)

• • •

THESAURUS (for Meaning 3)

■ something wrong

▪ fault a problem in a machine, system, design etc that causes damage or makes it not work properly:

The fire was caused by an electrical fault.


a fault in the engine

▪ defect a fault in something such as a product or machine, resulting from the way it was made or designed:

Cars are tested for defects before they leave the factory.

▪ weakness a part of a plan, system, or argument that is not as good as the other parts, and makes it likely to fail:

What are the strengths and weaknesses of each method?

▪ flaw a fault in a plan, system, argument etc, especially one that makes it useless or not effective:

Your argument has a fundamental flaw.


There was one major flaw in his suggestion – we didn’t have enough money.

▪ bug a fault in a computer program:

A bug in the system was quickly fixed.

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

I noticed a small glitch when installing the software.

▪ mistake something that is wrong in someone’s spelling, grammar, calculations etc:

The article was full of spelling mistakes.

▪ there’s something wrong with something used when saying that there is a problem in a machine, car etc, but you do not know what it is:

There’s something wrong with the computer – it won’t close down.

II. fault 2 BrE AmE verb [transitive usually passive]

[ Word Family: adjective : ↑ faultless , ↑ faulty ; verb : ↑ fault ; noun : ↑ fault ; adverb : ↑ faultlessly ]

to criticize someone or something for a mistake:

The judge cannot be faulted on his decision.

it is hard/difficult to fault somebody/something

You might not like O'Donnel’s arrogance, but it’s hard to fault what he does on the field.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.