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I found this phrase in the following excerpt from a novel (emphasis added):

New York cabbies were a unique breed. Fearless to a fault, they sped and swerved through crowded streets with unnatural calm.

I googled it between quotation marks and found almost 100.000 results. This somehow leads me to think that it is some sort of idiom or set phrase. Is it the case? Again, I can't understand its proper meaning: is it "so fearless that they may be faulted for that"?

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closed as off-topic by Matt E. Эллен, user49727, Kris, Rory Alsop, Christi Nov 29 '13 at 17:36

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions that can be answered using commonly-available references are off-topic. A list of these references can be found here: List of general references" – Matt E. Эллен, user49727, Kris, Rory Alsop, Christi
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

to a fault – Matt E. Эллен Nov 28 '13 at 10:25
"to a fault" generally implies that this thing you are doing excessively would in less excessive quantities be a good thing. So you can be loving to a fault, or nice to a fault, etc. – Dodgie Nov 28 '13 at 16:01

"To a fault" is used to add strong emphasis to a particular quality. Wiktionary has some good examples. I think the most common use of it I've seen is "generous to a fault".

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All right, I couldn't parse the phrase properly. – Giorgiomastrò Nov 28 '13 at 10:35
'Fair to a fault' is a common one in Britain. – WS2 Nov 28 '13 at 11:45

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