Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “failure”

failure

noun uk   /ˈfeɪ.ljər/ us    /-ljɚ/

failure noun (NO SUCCESS)

B2 [C or U] the fact of someone or something not succeeding: The meeting was a complete/total failure. I'm a bit of a failure at making (= I cannot make) cakes. I feel such a failure (= so unsuccessful). Their attempt to climb the Eiger ended in failure. The whole project was doomed to failure right from the start (= it could never have succeeded).

failure noun (NOT DO)

B2 [U + to infinitive] the fact of not doing something that you must do or are expected to do: His failure to return her phone call told her that something was wrong. Failure to keep the chemical at the right temperature could lead to an explosion.

failure noun (STOP)

B2 [C or U] the fact of something not working, or stopping working as well as it should: He died of heart/liver failure. The accident was caused by the failure of the reactor's cooling system. The number of business failures rose steeply last year. After three crop failures in a row, the people face starvation.
(Definition of failure from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of failure?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “failure” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

wave

to raise your hand and move it from side to side as a way of greeting someone, telling someone to do something, or adding emphasis to an expression

Word of the Day

Come on – you can do it! Phrasal verbs with ‘come’.

by Liz Walter​,
November 19, 2014
As part of an occasional series on the tricky subject of phrasal verbs, this blog looks at ones formed with the verb ‘come’. If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you already know come from, as it is one of the first things you learn in class: I come from Scotland/Spain.

Read More 

silver splicer noun

November 17, 2014
informal a person who marries in later life Newly retired and now newlywed – rise of the ‘silver splicers’ Reaching pension age becomes a trigger to tie the knot as baby-boomers begin to redefine retirement

Read More