Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

failure

 - definition
 
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
noun British English pronunciation: failure /ˈfeɪljə(r)/ 
Word Forms
Close
singularfailure
pluralfailures

Related dictionary definitions

 
  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] a lack of success in doing something

    I'm too proud to admit failure.

    end/result in failure:

    Their first attempt to climb Everest ended in failure.

    failure to do something:

    She is depressed by her continued failure to find a job.

    failure of:

    The failure of the talks has made the situation worse.

  2. 2
    [countable/uncountable] a situation in which you do not do something that someone expects you to do
    failure of:

    He was angry about the failure of the UN to intervene in the crisis.

    failure to do something:

    Failure to comply with the rules can result in expulsion.

  3. 3
    [countable/uncountable] a situation in which something such as a machine or an organ in your body stops working correctly
    engine/brake/power failure:

    The crash seems to have been caused by an engine failure.

    heart/liver/kidney failure:

    He died from liver failure.

    1. a.
      a situation in which a business cannot continue operating

      Business failures soared by more than a third in the second half of this year.

  4. 4
    [countable] someone or something that has not achieved success

    The party was a total failure.

    I feel such a failure.

Word of the Day

chocolate

a sweet brown food eaten as a sweet or used for flavouring other food

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog