The dynamic stored energy of cold work (SECW) has recently been identified as the trigger for adiabatic shear failure. However, the question of what makes the failure "dynamic" has remained open so far. Using compression tests (Ti6A14V alloy) over a wide range of strain rates [10 -4-10 4 s -1], we have identified a transition strain rate above which both the dynamic SECW and the microstructure are radically different from their static counterparts, thereby outlining the onset of "dynamic" failure. © 2012 Acta Materialia Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.