American English

Definition of fault noun from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



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  1. 1[uncountable] the responsibility for something wrong that has happened or been done Why should I say sorry when it's not my fault? It's nobody's fault. fault (that…) It was his fault that we were late. fault (for doing something) It's your own fault for being careless. Many people live in poverty through no fault of their own. I think the owners are at fault (= responsible) for not warning us. She believes that the product's poor image is partly the fault of the press.
  2. in someone's character
  3. 2[countable] a bad or weak aspect of someone's character synonym shortcoming He's proud of his children and blind to their faults. I love her for all her faults (= in spite of them). I think my worst fault is impatience.
  4. something wrong
  5. 3[countable] something that is wrong or not perfect with something; something that is wrong with a machine or system that stops it from working correctly synonym defect The book's virtues far outweigh its faults. The system,for all its faults, is the best available at the present time. a major fault in the design a structural fault an electrical fault
  6. in tennis
  7. 4[countable] a mistake made when serving He has served a number of double faults in this set.
  8. geology
  9. 5[countable] a place where there is a break that is longer than usual in the layers of rock in the earth's crust the San Andreas fault a fault line
  10. Idioms
    find fault (with somebody/something)
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    to look for and discover mistakes in someone or something; to complain about someone or something
    used to say that someone has a lot, or even too much, of a particular good quality She is generous to a fault.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: fault