Learn English – How to describe somebody who was judged and found wanting


"The King judged the man, and the man was found wanting".

Is it correct to say that "the man failed the judgment", or is there a more appropriate phrasing than "pass/fail" when discussing the result of a judgment?

Best Answer

I would say that a person would fall short or perhaps found wanting:

To fail to attain a specified amount, level, or degree: an athlete whose skill fell far short of expectations. To prove inadequate: food supplies fell short. For all fall short of the glory of God...

This concept of falling short is extremely old. In Ancient Egypt, a person upon death would face Isis and Osiris, and the scales of Judgement. On one side was the feather of Maat - what a good person's heart should weigh if they had done little harm during life. On the other, one's heart. Overseen by Anubis, if one had fallen short, and found wanting, the soul would be turned over to Ammut, a crocodile-headed god, the devourer of the dead).

... forepart is like that of a crocodile, the middle of her body is like that of a lion, her hind quarters are like those of a hippopotamus.

O my heart of my being! Do not rise up against me as witness, Do not oppose me in the tribunal, Do not rebel against me before the guardian of the scales! You are my ka within my body, The Khnum who prospers my limbs. Go to the good place prepared for us, Do not make my name stink before them, The magistrates who put people in their places! If it's good for us it's good for the judge...

The idea of being so judged (and the fear of being found wanting) is not uncommon in one form or another across civilizations throughout history.

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