AskDefine | Define flub

Dictionary Definition

flub n : an embarrassing mistake [syn: blunder, blooper, bloomer, bungle, foul-up, fuckup, botch, boner, boo-boo] v : make a mess of, destroy or ruin; "I botched the dinner and we had to eat out"; "the pianist screwed up the difficult passage in the second movement" [syn: botch, bumble, fumble, botch up, muff, blow, screw up, ball up, spoil, muck up, bungle, fluff, bollix, bollix up, bollocks, bollocks up, bobble, mishandle, louse up, foul up, mess up, fuck up] [also: flubbing, flubbed]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /flʌb/, /flVb/


  1. a mistake, an error, especially in performance
    I hope nobody noticed my flub.


  1. to goof, fumble, or err; especially to execute or perform poorly
    The actor made a grand entrance, but promptly flubbed his line.

Extensive Definition

Failure (fail, phail or flop) in general refers to the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective. It may be viewed as the opposite of success. Product failure ranges from failure to sell the product to fracture of the product, in the worst cases leading to personal injury, the province of forensic engineering.

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. As well, 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

Commercial failures

A commercial failure is a product that does not reach expectations of success, failing to come even close. A major flop goes one step further and is recognized for its complete lack of success.
Most of the items listed below had high expectations, significant financial investments, and/or widespread publicity, but fell far short of success. Due to the subjective nature of "success" and "meeting expectations", there can be disagreement about what constitutes a "major flop."

Fail internet meme

"Fail" is the name of a popular internet meme where users superimpose the word "fail" onto embarrassing or compromising photos. The G4 television channel has a web feature called "Epic Fail" that denotes major gaffs in popular culture - a mainstream play on the meme. Fail Dogs, an animal version, made the front page of Digg in February, 2008.


  • Charles Perrow, Normal Accidents: Living with High-Risk Technologies, New Tork: Basic Books, 1983. Paperback reprint, Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1999, ISBN 0-691-00412-9
  • Sandage, Scott A. Born Losers: A History of Failure in America. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2005. ISBN 0-674-01510-X, ISBN 0-674-02107-X
flub in German: Betriebsstörung
flub in Hebrew: כישלון
flub in Italian: Guasto
flub in Japanese: 故障
flub in Portuguese: Fracasso

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

bad job, bevue, bitch, bitch up, blow, blunder, bobble, boggle, bollix, bonehead into it, bonehead play, boner, boo-boo, botch, bugger, bugger up, bungle, clumsy performance, drop a brick, error, etourderie, fluff, foozle, foul up, fumble, gaucherie, goof, goof up, gum up, hash, hash up, louse up, mess, mess up, miscue, mistake, muff, off day, sad work, screw up, slip, stumble, trip
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