Meaning of “failure” in the English Dictionary

"failure" in British English

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failurenoun

uk /ˈfeɪ.ljər/ us /ˈfeɪ.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 whole project was doomed to failure right from the start (= it could never have succeeded).

More examples

  • Another crop failure could result in widespread famine.
  • The computer failure was due to a glitch caused by lightning.
  • The failure of the monsoon would destroy harvests on which 1000 million people rely.
  • The words 'Hard disk failure - program aborted' popped up on the screen.
  • The probable cause of death was heart failure.

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 made her realize that something was wrong.
Failure to keep the chemical at the right temperature could lead to an explosion.

More examples

  • There are serious penalties for failure to comply with the regulations.
  • The team blamed injuries and lack of preparation for their failure to win.
  • He was disappointed by his failure to secure the top job with the bank.
  • I regarded her failure to acknowledge my greeting as a slight.
  • The Opposition is making a lot of political capital out of the government's failure to invest in education.

(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 sail across 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 phone call 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 computer system 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 /ˈfeɪljər/ us

[ C or U ] a situation in which a company has been unsuccessful and has to stop operating:

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 system stops working:

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 reckless lending led directly to the financial crisis.

(Definition of “failure” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)