Failure refers to the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, and may be viewed as the opposite of success.
Criteria for failure
The criteria for failure are heavily dependent on context of use, and may be relative to a particular observer or belief system. A situation considered to be a failure by one might be considered a success by another, particularly in cases of direct competition or a zero-sum game. Similarly, the degree of success or failure in a situation may be differently viewed by distinct observers or participants, such that a situation that one considers to be a failure, another might consider to be a success, a qualified success or a neutral situation.
It may also be difficult or impossible to ascertain whether a situation meets criteria for failure or success due to ambiguous or ill-defined definition of those criteria. Finding useful and effective criteria, or heuristics, to judge the success or failure of a situation may itself be a significant task.
Types of failure
Failure can be differentially perceived from the viewpoints of the evaluators. A person who is only interested in the final outcome of an activity would consider it to be an Outcome Failure if the core issue has not been resolved or a core need is not met. A failure can also be a process failure whereby although the activity is completed successfully, a person may still feel dissatisfied if the underlying process is perceived to be below expected standard or benchmark.
1. Failure to anticipate
2. Failure to perceive
3. Failure to carry out a task
Loser is a derogatory term for a person who is (according to the standards of the observer) generally unsuccessful.
Train wreck at Montparnasse, France, an example of a failure. 1895
N00b wreck at 49ers Webzone, an example of mock failure. 2010