American English

Definition of failure noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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    not successful
  1. 1[uncountable] lack of success in doing or achieving something The success or failure of the plan depends on you. The attempt was doomed to failure. All my efforts ended in failure. the problems of economic failure and increasing unemployment She is still coming to terms with the failure of her marriage. opposite success
  2. 2[countable] a person or thing that is not successful The whole thing was a complete failure. He was a failure as a teacher. A team learns from experience, both successes and failures. opposite success
  3. not doing something
  4. 3[uncountable, countable] failure to do something an act of not doing something, especially something that you are expected to do the failure of the United Nations to maintain food supplies Failure to comply with the regulations will result in prosecution. His confession followed repeated failures to appear in court.
  5. of machine/part of body
  6. 4[uncountable, countable] the state of not working correctly or as expected; an occasion when this happens patients suffering from heart/kidney, etc. failure Production has been halted by mechanical failure. A power failure plunged everything into darkness. The cause of the crash was given as engine failure.
  7. of business
  8. 5[countable, uncountable] business/bank failure a situation in which a business or bank has to close because it is not successful an alarming increase in bank failures
  9. of crops
  10. 6[uncountable, countable] crop failure a situation in which crops do not grow correctly and do not produce food Bad weather has resulted in crop failure.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: failure

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