English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The phrase "not working" can be used as an adjective, for example:

My laptop is not working.

What is the noun-form of the adjective "not working"?

E.g. "The not-workingness of my laptop."

share|improve this question
up vote 7 down vote accepted

You could put a few options

"Brokenness" would be my first choice

"Dysfunctionality" would also work

"Failure" could work depending on the context too.

share|improve this answer
I would actually go for "Disfunctionality", but it isn't a word... – Pacerier Jul 13 '12 at 18:18
well, it is. I just spelled it wrong. I edited in the post. – Marcus_33 Jul 13 '12 at 18:20
With the Y we have "dysfunctional" which is a word. – GEdgar Jul 13 '12 at 18:21
@GEdgar - it's a word, but it's not the right word for this context. Dys- means "with difficulty", not "not". Anyway, I'd go for bustedness. – MT_Head Jul 13 '12 at 19:49

Inoperability could be added to the list of candidates.

Granted, in medicine, inoperable describes being unsuitable for surgury without undue risk (as in, an inoperable tumor).

However, inoperability has another meaning; which Collins describes as the state of being unworkable, or incapable of being operated. TFD lists it as the noun form of inoperable, which means not functioning or inoperative.

share|improve this answer

I like J.R.'s Inoperability. I might also suggest:

  • incapacitation
  • nonfunctionality
  • paralysis
share|improve this answer

Malfunction could be used, but it may suggest a compromise of functionality that is less than total.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.