Definition of failure in English:


Line breaks: fail|ure
Pronunciation: /ˈfeɪljə


[mass noun]
  • 2The neglect or omission of expected or required action: their failure to comply with the basic rules
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    • The strictest compliance was expected and failure to comply meant harsh punishment.
    • There is no requirement that failure to comply with these provisions has any causative relationship to the making of the statement.
    • Colleges could face stiff sanctions for failure to comply with requirements, the bill states.
  • 2.1 [count noun] A lack or deficiency of a desirable quality: a failure of imagination
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    • He was the tangible symbol of the Baby Boom, its conceits, its self-absorption, its lack of discipline and failures of responsibility.
    • A spokesman from Orkney Islands Council said there was no suggestion of any failures in the quality of the service provided by staff to the food industry and consumers.
    • We are more tolerant of failures in quality now, and more receptive, at last, to the thought that the idea is more important than the medium.
  • 3The action or state of not functioning: symptoms of heart failure [count noun]: a chance engine failure
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    • Kidney failure occurs when kidney function deteriorates to such an extent that death will occur without renal replacement therapy such as haemodialysis.
    • The damage can lead to poor liver function and liver failure.
    • This is important for patients with impaired kidney function or liver failure who cannot clear the extra ammonia.
  • 3.1 [count noun] A sudden cessation of power: a sudden power failure
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    • During any sudden power failure, the system automatically switches to regular electricity.
    • I suggest it's time to investigate various aircraft accidents, power failures, and claims of abductions with the realization that UFOs are real.
    • Strikes, accidents, weather, power failures - does it really matter why the trains aren't running?
  • 3.2 [count noun] The collapse of a business: business failures rose by 53%
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    • This has led to a worldwide assault on auto workers' jobs, as well as business failures, including the bankruptcy announcement earlier this month by Daewoo Motors of South Korea.
    • This coincides with rising or record levels of poverty, homelessness, job insecurity, personal bankruptcies and small business failures.
    • Are we going to see more closures or failures in the ISP business?
    collapse, crash, going under, bankruptcy, insolvency, liquidation, close-down, closure, closing, shutting down, winding up, termination; decline, failing, foundering, sinking, ruin, ruination
    informal folding, flop


mid 17th century (originally as failer, in the senses 'non-occurrence' and 'cessation of supply'): from Anglo-Norman French failer for Old French faillir (see fail).

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