at fault

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a. A character weakness, especially a minor one.
b. Something that impairs or detracts from physical perfection; a defect. See Synonyms at blemish.
c. A mistake; an error: a grammatical fault; a fault in his reasoning.
d. A minor offense or misdeed: committed her share of youthful faults.
2. Responsibility for a mistake or an offense; culpability. See Synonyms at blame.
3. Geology A fracture in the continuity of a rock formation caused by a shifting or dislodging of the earth's crust, in which adjacent surfaces are displaced relative to one another and parallel to the plane of fracture. Also called shift.
4. Electronics A defect in a circuit or wiring caused by imperfect connections, poor insulation, grounding, or shorting.
5. Sports A service of the ball that violates the rules in tennis and similar games.
6. Archaic A lack or deficiency.
v. fault·ed, fault·ing, faults
1. To find error or defect in; criticize or blame: faulted the author for poor research; faulted the book for inaccuracies.
2. Geology To produce a fault in; fracture.
1. To commit a mistake or an error.
2. Geology To shift so as to produce a fault.
3. Sports To commit a fault, as in tennis.
at fault
1. Deserving of blame; guilty: admitted to being at fault.
2. Confused and puzzled.
find fault
To seek, find, and complain about faults; criticize: found fault with his speech.
to a fault
To an excessive degree: generous to a fault.

[Middle English faulte, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *fallita, from variant of Latin falsa, feminine past participle of fallere, to deceive, fail.]
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend: fault - deserving blameat fault - deserving blame; "admitted to being at fault"
guilty - responsible for or chargeable with a reprehensible act; "guilty of murder"; "the guilty person"; "secret guilty deeds"
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(foːlt) noun
1. a mistake; something for which one is to blame. The accident was your fault.
2. an imperfection; something wrong. There is a fault in this machine; a fault in his character.
3. a crack in the rock surface of the earth. faults in the earth's crust.
to find fault with. I couldn't fault him / his piano-playing.
ˈfaultless adjective
without fault; perfect. a faultless performance.
ˈfaultlessly adverb
ˈfaulty adjective
(usually of something mechanical) not made or working correctly.
at fault
wrong or to blame. She was at fault.
find fault with
to criticize or complain of. She is always finding fault with the way he eats.
to a fault
to too great an extent. She was generous to a fault.
References in periodicals archive ?
Under joint and several liability, even if a company was deemed only 1% at fault for a plaintiff's injuries, that company could be held fully responsible for massive awards that may have had very little to do with their own wrongdoing.
Rather than spend time and money arguing in court about who is at fault when two cars happen to collide, as cars inevitably do, why shouldn't insurance companies automatically pay out benefits to any policyholder who suffers in a traffic accident, no matter what the circumstances?
He said there is a lot of fighting in the child-custody phase even without requiring that one partner prove another was at fault in the divorce.