Definition of “fault” - English Dictionary

“fault” in British English

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uk /fɒlt/ us /fɑːlt/

fault noun (MISTAKE)

B1 [ U ] a mistake, especially something for which you are to blame:

It's not my fault she didn't come!
She believes it was the doctor's fault that Peter died.
The fault was/lay with the organizers, who failed to make the necessary arrangements for dealing with so many people.
Through no fault of his own, he spent a week locked up in jail.

B2 [ C ] a weakness in a person's character:

He has many faults, but dishonesty isn't one of them.

B2 [ C ] a broken part or weakness in a machine or system:

The car has a serious design fault.
An electrical fault caused the fire.
For all the faults in our education system, it is still better than that in many other countries.

[ C ] (in tennis and some other games) a mistake made by a player who is beginning a game by hitting the ball

be at fault

B2 to have done something wrong:

Her doctor was at fault for/in not sending her straight to a specialist.
find fault with sb/sth

C2 to criticize someone or something, especially without good reasons:

He's always finding fault with my work.

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uk /fɒlt/ us /fɑːlt/

(Definition of “fault” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“fault” in American English

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us /fɔlt/

fault noun (SOMETHING WRONG)

[ C ] a quality in a person that shows that the person is not perfect, or a condition of something that shows that it is not working perfectly:

He loves me in spite of my faults.
Some people find fault in everything they see.


[ U ] responsibility for a mistake or for having done something wrong:

I screwed up, so it was my fault we didn’t finish on time.
The driver was at fault (= responsible) for the accident – he was going too fast.

fault noun (CRACK)

earth science [ C ] a crack in the earth’s surface where the rock is divided into two parts that can move against each other in an earthquake (= a sudden, violent movement of the earth’s surface)


faultverb [ T ]

us /fɔlt/

fault verb [ T ] (RESPONSIBILITY)

to blame someone:

Professional athletes cannot be faulted for making millions of dollars when they attract the fans that make the sport popular.

(Definition of “fault” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“fault” in Business English

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uk /fɔːlt/ us

[ C ] something that is wrong with a machine or system:

The car had a serious design fault and had to be recalled.
An electrical fault caused the fire.

[ U ] the fact of being responsible for something bad that happens:

be sb's fault (that) It was the traders' fault that so many billions were lost.
be the fault of sb The court found that the accident was the fault of the local authority.
the fault lies with sb We need to decide whether the fault lies with the buyer or the seller in this case.
no-fault LAW

relating to legal processes, insurance claims, etc. in which it is not necessary to decide who is responsible for a bad situation:

He introduced the nation's first no-fault auto insurance law.
a no-fault contract/divorce/system

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