failure Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “failure” in the English Dictionary

"failure" in British English

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failurenoun

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 Everest ended in failure. The ​wholeproject was doomed to failure ​right from the ​start (= it could never have ​succeeded).

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  • 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 toreturn her ​phonecall made her ​realize that something was ​wrong. Failure tokeep the ​chemical at the ​righttemperature could ​lead to an ​explosion.

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  • failure noun (STOP)

B2 [C or U] the ​fact of something not ​working, or ​stoppingworking as well as it should: He ​died of heart/​liver failure. The ​accident was ​caused by the failure of the reactor's ​coolingsystem. The ​number of business failures ​rosesteeply last ​year. After three crop failures in a ​row, the ​peoplefacestarvation.
(Definition of failure from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"failure" in American English

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failurenoun

 us   /ˈfeɪl·jər/
  • failure noun (LACK OF SUCCESS)

[C/U] a ​lack of ​success in doing something: [U] Their ​attempt to ​sailacross the Atlantic Ocean ​ended in failure. [C] He was a failure as a ​businessman.
  • failure noun (SOMETHING NOT DONE)

[U] the ​fact of not doing something you should have done: [+ to infinitive] His failure to ​return her ​phonecall told her that something was ​wrong.
  • failure noun (SOMETHING NOT WORKING)

[C/U] the ​fact of something not ​working as it should: [U] He ​died of ​heart failure. [C] The new ​computersystem was a ​complete failure (= It did not ​work).
(Definition of failure from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"failure" in Business English

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failurenoun

uk   us   /ˈfeɪljər/
[C or U] a ​situation in which a ​company has been unsuccessful and has to ​stopoperating: The ​number and seriousness of the ​bank failures took ​economists by surprise. We're ​finally seeing a ​slowdown in the ​rate of business failures.
[U] lack of ​success in ​trying to do something: If you're too scared of failure, you'll never ​try to ​achieve anything.
[U] a ​situation in which a ​machine or ​systemstopsworking: The cause of the ​crash is now ​thought to be ​engine failure.
[C] someone or something that is not ​successful: He always ​thought of himself as a failure.
failure to do sth a ​situation in which someone does not do something they should do or are expected to do: The ​banks' failure to ​regulate more ​recklesslendingled directly to the ​financialcrisis.
(Definition of failure from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“failure” in Business English

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