Did you know?

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

fault - definition and synonyms

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.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

noun     fault pronunciation in American English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [countable/uncountable] the fact of being responsible for a bad or unpleasant situation
    be someone’s fault:

    It’s my fault – I forgot to give him the message.

    be someone’s fault (that):

    It’s not my fault that we’re late.

    be someone’s own fault:

    If you didn’t get enough sleep, it’s your own fault.

    be all someone’s fault:

    We missed our flight and it’s all your fault!

    be someone’s fault for doing something:

    It was partly the teacher’s fault for not explaining things clearly enough.

    through no fault of your own:

    He seems to have lost the job through no fault of his own.

    the fault lies with:

    If a child does not attend school, the fault lies with the parent.

  2. 2
    [countable] a feature of something that makes it less good

    The book’s main fault is that it is too long.

    for all something’s faults (=despite them):

    For all its faults, it is still the best small car on the market.

    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      a problem with a machine or piece of equipment that stops it from working correctly
      fault in:

      An engineer was called out to repair a fault in the alarm system.

      an electrical/mechanical/technical fault:

      The fire was caused by an electrical fault.

    2. b.
      a bad part of someone’s character

      She has her faults, but on the whole she’s very nice.

      for all someone’s faults (=despite them):

      For all his faults, he’s been a very good friend to me.

    3. c.
      mainly British a small mistake in a product that spoils its appearance slightly and makes it less than perfect
      Synonyms and related words
  3. 3
    [countable] a service in tennis in which the ball does not land inside the correct area
    Synonyms and related words
  4. 4
    [countable] science a crack on or below the Earth’s surface

    a geological fault

    the San Andreas Fault

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


to manipulate someone psychologically so that they begin to question their own perceptions and memories

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

add a word


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
Macmillan learn live love play