to a fault


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to a fault

To an extreme to excessive degree; more than is usual or necessary. Jim is polite to a fault—it can actually be a little bit irritating sometimes. The police sergeant is honest to a fault, following every regulation and guideline without question.
See also: fault
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

to a fault

Excessively, extremely, as in He was generous to a fault. This phrase, always qualifying an adjective, has been so used since the mid-1700s. Indeed, Oliver Goldsmith had this precise usage in The Life of Richard Nash (1762).
See also: fault
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

to a fault

COMMON If someone has a good quality to a fault, they have more of this quality than is usual or necessary. She was generous to a fault and tried to see that we had everything we needed. He's honest to a fault, brave, dedicated, and fiercely proud of the New York Police Department.
See also: fault
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

— to a fault

(of someone or something displaying a particular commendable quality) to an extent verging on excess.
1995 Bill Bryson Notes from a Small Island Anyway, that's the kind of place Bournemouth is—genteel to a fault and proud of it.
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Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

to a ˈfault

(written) used to say that somebody has a lot, or even too much of a particular good quality: He was generous to a fault.
See also: fault
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

to a fault

To an excessive degree: generous to a fault.
See also: fault
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.

to a fault

Excessively so. This locution, which is always applied to a quality that is inherently good but may not be so in excess—for example, “generous to a fault”—dates from the nineteenth century. The fault in question, of course, is that of excess. Robert Browning used it in The Ring and the Book (1868), “Faultless to a fault”—that is, too perfect. A similar phrase is to a fare-the-well, but it implies perfection and not necessarily excess. For example, “The table was decorated to a fare-the-well; nothing was lacking.” See also too much of a good thing.
See also: fault
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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