Fail Up

What does it mean to fail up?

To be promoted despite failure

Workers who fail up are promoted despite constant mediocrity or failure. Failing up is a fairly common phenomenon in the business world - so common, in fact, that there's a slang term to describe it.

Those who fail up are likely sociable, confident, charming, and seemingly hard-working - all qualities that cover up their tendency to fail or misstep. They may also be skilled at spinning their failures as successes (or at least, as opportunities to grow).

Of course, not every worker who has failed and is later promoted is failing up in a negative sense. Sometimes, people fail at things, learn, and do truly come out better for it - ready to achieve greater success.


It's amazing how Ashton keeps failing up. I'll be surprised if he's not VP soon
It is, isn't it?
It is, isn't it?

Related Slang


Updated October 21, 2021

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This page explains what the slang term "Fail up" means. The definition, example, and related terms listed above have been written and compiled by the team.

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