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1. The quality or condition of being imperfect.
2. Something imperfect; a defect or flaw. See Synonyms at blemish.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


1. the condition or quality of being imperfect
2. a fault or defect
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ˌɪm pərˈfɛk ʃən)

1. fault; flaw.
2. the quality or state of being imperfect.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.



crack’d in the ring Flawed or imperfect at the perimeter or edge; of little value or use; (of women) nonvirginal. This expression, popular during Elizabethan times, is no longer used today. It was limited in application to money, artillery, and (figuratively) to women.

diamond in the rough One whose unrefined external appearance or ungraceful behavior belies a good or gentle character and untapped potential. This expression derives from the disparity between a diamond in its natural state, before being cut and polished, and in its refined state, when it has become an impressive gem. Analogously, graceful manners and social amenities can be learned. Diamond in the rough dates from the early 17th century.

feet of clay An unforeseen blemish in the character of a person hitherto held above reproach.

The woman … finds that her golden-headed god has got an iron body and feet of clay. (Anthony Trollope, Fortnightly Review, 1865)

This expression originated with Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the Old Testament (Daniel 2:31-45). The Babylonian king had dreamed of an image completely made of precious metals, except for its feet, which were made of clay and iron. Daniel explained that the feet represented man’s vulnerability to weakness and destruction.

Homer sometimes nods An erudite way of saying, “Nobody’s perfect.” The expression is often used to indicate that an artistic performance or endeavor has fallen below expectations or has not been of consistently high quality. The phrase’s origin lies in lines from Horace’s De Arte Poética usually translated as: “I think it shame when the worthy Homer nods; but in so long a work it is allowable if drowsiness comes on.”

mote in the eye A fault or imperfection observed in a person by one who is guilty of something equally or more objectionable. This phrase comes from Matthew 7:3:

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Mote refers to a small particle, as a bit of sawdust; beam refers to a glance, or eyebeam, formerly thought to be emitted from, rather than received by the eye. Shakespeare makes use of the allusion in Love’s Labor’s Lost:

You found his mote, the King your mote did see,
But I a beam do find in each of three. (IV, iii)

An analogous proverbial exhortation is “People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

a rift in the lute A flaw or imperfection, particularly one that endangers the integrity of the whole; the one rotten apple that spoils the whole barrel. The expression, more familiar to British than American ears, comes from Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s Idylls of the King (1885):

It is the little rift within the lute,
That by and by will make the music mute,
And ever widening slowly silence all.

rough edges Characteristics or manners indicating a lack of polish, refinement, or completion. Use of rough meaning ‘lacking in culture or refinement’ dates from at least the time of Shakespeare. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly when edges, probably originally referring to the edges of sawed lumber which have not been trimmed or sized, was added to make the new phrase. In current use, corners is a common variant of edges.

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.imperfection - the state or an instance of being imperfect
state - the way something is with respect to its main attributes; "the current state of knowledge"; "his state of health"; "in a weak financial state"
failing, weakness - a flaw or weak point; "he was quick to point out his wife's failings"
flaw - an imperfection in a plan or theory or legal document that causes it to fail or that reduces its effectiveness
defect - an imperfection in a bodily system; "visual defects"; "this device permits detection of defects in the lungs"
flaw, fault, defect - 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"
wart - an imperfection in someone or something that is suggestive of a wart (especially in smallness or unattractiveness)
defectiveness, faultiness - the state of being defective
flawlessness, ne plus ultra, perfection - the state of being without a flaw or defect
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. blemish, fault, defect, flaw, stain Scanners locate imperfections in the cloth.
2. fault, failing, weakness, defect, deficiency, flaw, shortcoming, inadequacy, frailty, foible, weak point He concedes that there are imperfections in the socialist system.
3. incompleteness, deficiency, inadequacy, frailty, insufficiency It is its imperfection that gives it its beauty.
incompleteness perfection, sufficiency, adequacy, consummation, completeness, faultlessness, flawlessness
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


Something that mars the appearance or causes inadequacy or failure:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
نَقْص، عَيْب، شائِبَه


[ˌɪmpəˈfekʃən] N
1. (= state of being imperfect) → imperfección f
2. (= fault) → defecto m
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ˌɪmpərˈfɛkʃən] n
(= fault) [person] → imperfection f; [thing, system] → imperfection f
(= minor flaw) → imperfection f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


no pl (= faultiness)Unvollkommenheit f, → Mangelhaftigkeit f; (= incompleteness)Unvollständigkeit f
(= fault, defect)Mangel m
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˌɪmpəˈfɛkʃn] n (poor quality) → imperfezione f; (flaw) → difetto, imperfezione
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(imˈpəːfikt) adjective
1. having a fault. This coat is being sold at half-price because it is imperfect.
2. (also noun) (a verb) of the tense expressing an action or state in the past which is not completed. The verb `go' in `I was going' is in the imperfect tense.
imˈperfectly adverb
ˌimperˈfection (-ˈfekʃən) noun
(the state of having) a fault or defect.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


n. imperfección, deformidad, defecto.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012
References in classic literature ?
For, if you reflect a moment, you will see that, while it is easy to choose what virtues we would have our wife possess, it is all but impossible to imagine those faults we would desire in her, which I think most lovers would admit add piquancy to the loved one, that fascinating wayward imperfection which paradoxically makes her perfect.
Who could have prophesied in what way any of these inspired law-breakers would break the law, what new type of perfect imperfection they would create?
As for the thoughts of many other objects external to me, as of the sky, the earth, light, heat, and a thousand more, I was less at a loss to know whence these came; for since I remarked in them nothing which seemed to render them superior to myself, I could believe that, if these were true, they were dependencies on my own nature, in so far as it possessed a certain perfection, and, if they were false, that I held them from nothing, that is to say, that they were in me because of a certain imperfection of my nature.
No, dearest Georgiana, you came so nearly perfect from the hand of Nature that this slightest possible defect, which we hesitate whether to term a defect or a beauty, shocks me, as being the visible mark of earthly imperfection."
When you tell me to love him as a brother, I shall no more see imperfection in his face, than I now do in his heart."
After all, the true seeing is within; and painting stares at you with an insistent imperfection. I feel that especially about representations of women.
In the four succeeding chapters, the most apparent and gravest difficulties on the theory will be given: namely, first, the difficulties of transitions, or in understanding how a simple being or a simple organ can be changed and perfected into a highly developed being or elaborately constructed organ; secondly the subject of Instinct, or the mental powers of animals, thirdly, Hybridism, or the infertility of species and the fertility of varieties when intercrossed; and fourthly, the imperfection of the Geological Record.
But to make this the sole consideration of marriage, to lust after it so violently as to overlook all imperfections for its sake, or to require it so absolutely as to reject and disdain religion, virtue, and sense, which are qualities in their nature of much higher perfection, only because an elegance of person is wanting: this is surely inconsistent, either with a wise man or a good Christian.
They are means, and powerful means, by which the excellences of republican government may be retained and its imperfections lessened or avoided.
If their works betray imperfections, we wonder at the fewness of them.
The people loved and reverenced the King of England even more than if the ocean had not rolled its waves between him and them; for, at the distance of three thousand miles, they could not discover his bad qualities and imperfections. Their love was increased by the dangers which they had encountered in order to heighten his glory and extend his dominion.
The imperfections in her personal appearance--and especially in her complexion--were subjects to her of the bitterest regret.