Definition of infallibility in US English:



  • 1The quality of being infallible; the inability to be wrong.

    ‘his judgment became impaired by faith in his own infallibility’
    • ‘So much for the legendary infallibility of the market.’
    • ‘These two articles sound like the New Year's prediction of a psychic who makes 1,000 predictions and uses the random accuracy of one of them to claim proof of their infallibility.’
    • ‘To be fair, Cohen never assumes infallibility in his subjects.’
    • ‘‘A lot of people have that feeling of infallibility, but the need for some form of emergency fund is hugely important,’ said Jewell.’
    • ‘I am not an IT professional, and my infallibility does not apply to the IT world, so please bear with me.’
    • ‘Those unconvinced by James’ alleged infallibility might see it more as evidence of scarcely believable smugness.’
    • ‘And if one defends such systems in the name of the authority of the State, and believes that it is destructive to the State to question its infallibility, then one is a Totalitarian.’
    • ‘Without their claim to God-like infallibility, I suspect they know that their whole delicate house of cards might collapse.’
    • ‘Though domineering and convinced of his own infallibility as a younger man, her husband was not cruel or intentionally uncaring.’
    • ‘Why doesn't this logic - used with an air of infallibility in most contexts by supporters of free-trade - apply to international trade?’
    • ‘But it turns out the aura of infallibility is a myth.’
    • ‘Experts blame the distractions of new technologies and drugs, doctor fatigue, and some doctors' sense of infallibility.’
    • ‘I do not wish to claim infallibility: all journalists get things wrong from time to time, mainly because they misunderstand or mishear information given to them.’
    • ‘These factors create a background of quiet, burning anger, which in terrorism finds an effective outlet with the resolute conviction of one's infallibility.’
    • ‘She doesn't feel that she has to restore his claim of infallibility for him to garner that respect.’
    • ‘He said: ‘The concept of prime ministerial infallibility has been dented.’’
    • ‘At first glance that sounds like an unlikely scenario, and the layman's impression of Kingussie's infallibility is certainly reinforced by a quick look at the statistics.’
    • ‘Unaccustomed to public criticism, journalists often develop a sense of infallibility that leads them to dismiss their online critics as fools or amateurs.’
    • ‘The administration's infallibility complex - its inability to admit ever making a mistake - will get even worse.’
    • ‘Moreover, Orwell's texts are more familiar and acceptable than biblical ones to non-religious readers, most of whom will have studied at least one of his books at school and learned to accept his infallibility.’
    1. 1.1also papal infallibility (in the Roman Catholic Church) the doctrine that in specified circumstances the Pope is incapable of error in pronouncing dogma.
      • ‘In 1870 the First Vatican Council announced the dogma of papal infallibility on matters of faith and morals.’
      • ‘It's precisely what infallibility is for, to protect us from the stupidity of the Church's members.’
      • ‘I'm left dumbfounded when a Protestant asks me how I can pretend infallibility is not contradicted in light of this.’
      • ‘But being ‘chosen’ in that way is no guarantee of infallibility, much less of sanctity and ‘chosenness’ in the deepest sense of being a saint.’
      • ‘Thus, infallibility is a negative charism, not a positive act of inspired prophecy.’


Early 17th century: from obsolete French infallibilité or medieval Latin infallibilitas (based on Latin fallere ‘deceive’).