Meaning of FAILURE in English

ˈfālyə(r) noun

( -s )

Etymology: alteration (influenced by -ure ) of earlier failer, from Anglo-French failer, from Old French faillir to fail — more at fail


a. : omission of performance of an action or task ; especially : neglect of an assigned, expected, or appropriate action

the mechanic's failure to adjust the brake

the failure of students to write complete sentences

the scout's failure to rejoin the party

b. : the fact of a certain action or process not having occurred : the fact of nonoccurrence

failure of the water to pass through the pipe

the failure of the drug to have a harmful effect

2. : want of success : lack of satisfactory performance or effect

the failure of the attack on the fort

the failure of the candidate in the election

3. obsolete : failing , lapse


a. : deficiency , lack : the fact of being cumulatively inadequate or not matching hopes or expectations

the crop failures brought on near famine

b. : absence , nonexistence

through failure of heirs, most of the state societies had disintegrated — A.F.Harlow

c. : marked weakening : the fact of becoming exhausted or enfeebled : deterioration

any impairment or failure of his bodily vigor through sickness or age — J.C.Frazer

d. medicine : inability to perform a vital function

heart failure

e. : a collapsing, fracturing, or giving way under stress : inability of a material or structure to fulfill an intended purpose


a. : bankruptcy

the failure of the company

the failure of a friend whose note he had endorsed

b. : a venture financially unsuccessful

although a contribution to literature, the play was a box-office failure

6. : a person or thing that has failed

people who were either failures or had had no ambitions — Louis Bromfield

the war against the confederation was a failure


a. : the fact of failing in a test or course

b. : a failing grade

c. : a student who has failed


neglect , default , miscarriage , dereliction : failure implies a lack or absence of something expected especially in performance or achievement

the failure of the courts in the past to formulate any principle for drawing a boundary line around the right of free speech — Zechariah Chafee

the ailing civilization pays the penalty for its failure of vitality by becoming disintegrated — A.J.Toynbee

nutritional failure due to inadequate intake of proteins and vitamins — Journal American Medical Association

neglect implies carelessness or inattentiveness resulting in incompleteness or inadequacy of performance or achievement

any neglect to take into consideration the relations of the social framework can only lead to a defective understanding — M.F.A.Montagu

so intent on taking care of the physical mechanics of getting things done, their creative and imaginative faculties suffer from neglect — Phoenix Flame

driven to extreme bitterness by public neglect of his work — American Guide Series: New York

default , now chiefly in legal context, implies a failure to perform something required, usually by total omission of any action at all

some of our decisions … are arrived at by default — that is, by “letting things go” — W.J.Reilly

betraying by default the privileges of citizenship in a democratic society — Vera M. Dean

in some default of faith too base for words — William Alfred

miscarriage is often used when one cannot assign or wishes to avoid assigning specific blame for a failure

it seems to me a miscarriage of the artist's job if his reputation does his work for him — William Arrowsmith

we fear … some miscarriage in the details of our plan — J.W.Krutch

a miscarriage of justice

dereliction is extremely strong in signifying or implying a neglect or nonobservance amounting to a reprehensible abandonment of a morally compelling duty, law, or principle

there is a moral dereliction in failure by any member of a profession to apply in professional practice the standards which, by consensus of opinion in the profession, are necessary — Journal American Medical Association

every good reporter knows that his friendship for a news source must never extend so far as disregard of official dereliction or incompetence — F.L.Mott

a manager who fails to throw out hour-old coffee and replace it with fresh coffee is warned not to repeat his dereliction — Jack Alexander

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.