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fault    : [f'ɔlt]
Fault \Fault\, n. [OE. faut, faute, F. faute (cf. It., Sp., &
Pg. falta), fr. a verb meaning to want, fail, freq., fr. L.
fallere to deceive. See {Fail}, and cf. {Default}.]
1. Defect; want; lack; default.
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One, it pleases me, for fault of a better, to call
my friend. --Shak.
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2. Anything that fails, that is wanting, or that impairs
excellence; a failing; a defect; a blemish.
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As patches set upon a little breach
Discredit more in hiding of the fault. --Shak.
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3. A moral failing; a defect or dereliction from duty; a
deviation from propriety; an offense less serious than a
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4. (Geol. & Mining)
(a) A dislocation of the strata of the vein.
(b) In coal seams, coal rendered worthless by impurities
in the seam; as, slate fault, dirt fault, etc.
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5. (Hunting) A lost scent; act of losing the scent.
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Ceasing their clamorous cry till they have singled,
With much ado, the cold fault cleary out. --Shak.
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6. (Tennis) Failure to serve the ball into the proper court.
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7. (Elec.) A defective point in an electric circuit due to a
crossing of the parts of the conductor, or to contact with
another conductor or the earth, or to a break in the
[Webster 1913 Suppl.]

8. (Geol. & Mining) A dislocation caused by a slipping of
rock masses along a plane of facture; also, the dislocated
structure resulting from such slipping.

Note: The surface along which the dislocated masses have
moved is called the

{fault plane}. When this plane is vertical, the fault is a

{vertical fault}; when its inclination is such that the
present relative position of the two masses could have
been produced by the sliding down, along the fault plane,
of the mass on its upper side, the fault is a

{normal fault}, or {gravity fault}. When the fault plane is
so inclined that the mass on its upper side has moved up
relatively, the fault is then called a

{reverse fault} (or {reversed fault}), {thrust fault}, or
{overthrust fault}. If no vertical displacement has resulted,
the fault is then called a

{horizontal fault}. The linear extent of the dislocation
measured on the fault plane and in the direction of
movement is the

{displacement}; the vertical displacement is the

{throw}; the horizontal displacement is the

{heave}. The direction of the line of intersection of the
fault plane with a horizontal plane is the

{trend} of the fault. A fault is a

{strike fault} when its trend coincides approximately with
the strike of associated strata (i.e., the line of
intersection of the plane of the strata with a horizontal
plane); it is a

{dip fault} when its trend is at right angles to the strike;

{oblique fault} when its trend is oblique to the strike.
Oblique faults and dip faults are sometimes called

{cross faults}. A series of closely associated parallel
faults are sometimes called

{step faults} and sometimes

{distributive faults}.
[Webster 1913 Suppl.]

{At fault}, unable to find the scent and continue chase;
hence, in trouble or embarrassment, and unable to proceed;
puzzled; thrown off the track.

{To find fault}, to find reason for blaming or complaining;
to express dissatisfaction; to complain; -- followed by
with before the thing complained of; but formerly by at.
"Matter to find fault at." --Robynson (More's Utopia).

Syn: -- Error; blemish; defect; imperfection; weakness;
blunder; failing; vice.

Usage: {Fault}, {Failing}, {Defect}, {Foible}. A fault is
positive, something morally wrong; a failing is
negative, some weakness or falling short in a man's
character, disposition, or habits; a defect is also
negative, and as applied to character is the absence
of anything which is necessary to its completeness or
perfection; a foible is a less important weakness,
which we overlook or smile at. A man may have many
failings, and yet commit but few faults; or his faults
and failings may be few, while his foibles are obvious
to all. The faults of a friend are often palliated or
explained away into mere defects, and the defects or
foibles of an enemy exaggerated into faults. "I have
failings in common with every human being, besides my
own peculiar faults; but of avarice I have generally
held myself guiltless." --Fox. "Presumption and
self-applause are the foibles of mankind."
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Fault \Fault\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Faulted}; p. pr. & vb. n.
1. To charge with a fault; to accuse; to find fault with; to
blame. [Obs.]
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For that I will not fault thee. --Old Song.
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2. (Geol.) To interrupt the continuity of (rock strata) by
displacement along a plane of fracture; -- chiefly used in
the p. p.; as, the coal beds are badly faulted.
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Fault \Fault\, v. i.
To err; to blunder, to commit a fault; to do wrong. [Obs.]
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If after Samuel's death the people had asked of God a
king, they had not faulted. --Latimer.
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n 1: a wrong action attributable to bad judgment or ignorance or
inattention; "he made a bad mistake"; "she was quick to
point out my errors"; "I could understand his English in
spite of his grammatical faults" [synonym: {mistake}, {error},
2: an imperfection in an object or machine; "a flaw caused the
crystal to shatter"; "if there are any defects you should
send it back to the manufacturer" [synonym: {defect}, {fault},
3: the quality of being inadequate or falling short of
perfection; "they discussed the merits and demerits of her
novel"; "he knew his own faults much better than she did"
[synonym: {demerit}, {fault}] [ant: {merit}, {virtue}]
4: (geology) a crack in the earth's crust resulting from the
displacement of one side with respect to the other; "they
built it right over a geological fault"; "he studied the
faulting of the earth's crust" [synonym: {fault}, {faulting},
{geological fault}, {shift}, {fracture}, {break}]
5: (electronics) equipment failure attributable to some defect
in a circuit (loose connection or insulation failure or short
circuit etc.); "it took much longer to find the fault than to
fix it"
6: responsibility for a bad situation or event; "it was John's
7: (sports) a serve that is illegal (e.g., that lands outside
the prescribed area); "he served too many double faults"
v 1: put or pin the blame on [synonym: {blame}, {fault}] [ant:
{absolve}, {free}, {justify}]

302 Moby Thesaurus words for "fault":
aberrancy, aberration, abysm, abyss, accountability, accountable,
accuse, answerability, answerable, arroyo, at fault, atrocity,
bad habit, besetting sin, birthmark, blackhead, blame, blameworthy,
bleb, blemish, blister, blunder, boner, boo-boo, boob, box canyon,
breach, break, bug, bulla, call into question, call to account,
canyon, carp at, catch, cavity, censure, chap, chasm, check,
chimney, chink, cicatrix, cleft, clerical error, cleuch, clough,
col, comedo, corrigendum, coulee, couloir, crack, cranny, crater,
craze, crevasse, crevice, crime, crime against humanity, criticize,
culpability, culpable, cut, cwm, deadly sin, defacement, defect,
defection, defectiveness, deficiency, defile, deformation,
deformity, delinquency, dell, delusion, demerit, dereliction,
deviancy, dike, disfiguration, disfigurement, disproportionately,
distortion, ditch, donga, draw, drawback, enormity, errancy,
erratum, erroneousness, error, evil, excavation, exceedingly,
excessively, extremely, failing, failure, fallaciousness, fallacy,
falseness, falsity, faultiness, faute, faux pas, felony,
find fault, fissure, flaw, flawedness, flume, foible, fracture,
frailty, freckle, furrow, fuss, gaffe, gap, gape, gash, gaucherie,
genocide, goof, gorge, groove, guilt, guilty, guilty act, gulch,
gulf, gully, hamartia, heavy sin, hemangioma, heresy, heterodoxy,
hickey, hole, howler, human error, illusion, immoderately,
imperfection, impropriety, impugn, in the extreme, inadequacy,
incision, indiscretion, inexpiable sin, infirmity, iniquity,
injury, injustice, irrationally, joint, keloid, kink, kloof, knock,
lapse, leak, lentigo, liability, liable, little problem,
malefaction, malfeasance, malum, milium, minor wrong,
misapplication, misapprehension, misbehavior, miscalculation,
miscarriage, misconception, misconduct, misconstruction, miscount,
misdeal, misdeed, misdemeanor, misdoing, misfeasance,
misidentification, misinterpretation, misjudgment, misplay,
misprint, misquotation, misreport, miss, misstatement, mistake,
misunderstanding, misuse, moat, mole, moral flaw, mortal sin,
needle scar, nevus, niggle, nonfeasance, notch, nullah, offense,
omission, onus, opening, outrage, overly, oversight, pass, passage,
peccadillo, peccancy, perversion, pick at, pick on, pimple, pit,
pock, pockmark, port-wine mark, port-wine stain, problem, pustule,
ravine, rent, responsibility, responsible, rift, rime, rupture,
scab, scar, scissure, scratch, seam, sebaceous cyst,
self-contradiction, shortcoming, sin, sin of commission,
sin of omission, sinful act, sinfulness, slip, slit, slot, snag,
something missing, split, strawberry mark, sty, taint,
take exception to, to a fault, to blame, tort, track,
transgression, trench, trespass, trip, twist, typo,
typographical error, unduly, unorthodoxy, unreasonably, untrueness,
untruth, untruthfulness, unutterable sin, valley, venial sin,
verruca, vesicle, vice, void, vulnerable place, wadi, wale, warp,
wart, weak link, weak point, weak side, weakness, weal, welt, wen,
whitehead, wrong, wrongness

1. A manifestation of an {error} in {software}.
A fault, if encountered, may cause a {failure}.

2. {page fault}.


FAULT, contracts, civil law. An improper act or omission, which arises from
ignorance, carelessness, or negligence. The act or omission must not have
been meditated, and must have caused some injury to another. Lec. Elem. Sec.
783. See Dolus, Negligence. 1 Miles' Rep. 40.
2.-1. Faults or negligence are usually divided into, gross, ordinary,
and slight: 1. Gross fault or neglect, consists in not observing that care
towards others, which a man the least attentive, usually takes of his own
affairs. Such fault may, in some cases, afford a presumption of fraud, and
in very gross cases it approaches so near, as to be almost undistinguishable
from it, especially when the facts seem hardly consistent with an honest
intention. But there may be a gross fault without fraud. 2 Str. 1099; Story,
Bailm. Sec. 18-22; Toullier, 1. 3, t. 3, Sec. 231. 2. Ordinary faults
consist in the omission of that care which mankind generally pay to their
own concerns; that is, the want of ordinary diligence. 3. A slight fault
consists in the want of that care which very attentive persons take of their
own affairs. This fault assimilates itself, and, in some cases, is scarcely
distinguishable, from mere accident, or want of foresight. This division has
been adopted by common lawyers from the civil law. Although the civilians
generally agree in this division, yet they are not without a difference of
opinion. See Pothier, Observation generale, sur le precedent Traite, et sur
les suivants; printed at the end of his Traite des Obligations, where he
cites Accurse, Alciat, Cujas, Duaren, D'Avezan, Vinnius, and Heineccius, in
support of this division. On the other side the reader is referred to
Thomasius, tom. 2, Dissertationem, pago 1006; Le Brun, cited by Jones,
Bailm. 27; and Toullier, Droit Civil Francais, liv. 3, tit. 3, Sec. 231.
3.-2. These principles established, different rules have been made as
to the responsibilities of parties for their faults in relation to their
contracts. They are reduced by Pothier to three.
4.-1. In those contracts where the party derives no benefit from his
undertaking, he is answerable only for his gross faults.
5.-2. In those contracts where the parties have a reciprocal
interest, as in the contract of sale, they are responsible for ordinary
6.-3. In those contracts where the party receives the only advantage,
as in the case of loan for use, he is answerable for his slight fault. Poth.
Observ. Generale; Traite des Oblig. Sec. 142; Jones, Bailm. 119 Story,
Bailm. 12. See also Ayliffe, Pand. 108. Civ. C. Lou. 3522; 1 Com. Dig. 41 3;
5 Id. 184; Wesk. on Ins. 370.

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English Dictionary  2005-2009

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