The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
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.
One, it pleases me, for fault of a better, to call
my friend. --Shak.
2. Anything that fails, that is wanting, or that impairs
excellence; a failing; a defect; a blemish.
As patches set upon a little breach
Discredit more in hiding of the fault. --Shak.
3. A moral failing; a defect or dereliction from duty; a
deviation from propriety; an offense less serious than a
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.
5. (Hunting) A lost scent; act of losing the scent.
Ceasing their clamorous cry till they have singled,
With much ado, the cold fault cleary out. --Shak.
6. (Tennis) Failure to serve the ball into the proper court.
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
[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."