At fault. Not on the right track; doubtful whether right or
wrong. Hounds are at fault when the scent is broken because the fox has
jumped upon a wall, crossed a river, cut through a flock of sheep, or
doubled like a hare.
In Geology, the break or displacement of a stratum of rock is
called a fault.
(French, faute, Latin, fallo, to fail.)
For fault of a better
(Shakespeare: Merry Wives,
i. 4). Having no better.
“I am the youngest of that name, for fault of a worse.”
Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, ii. 4.
In fault. To blame.
“Is Antony or we in fault for this?”
Shakespeare: Antony and Cleopatra, iii. 13.
To a fault:
In excess; as, kind to a fault. Excess of every good is more or
less evil. To find fault. To blame; to express disapprobation.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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