Wire electric discharge machining (WEDM) is a widely used high-precision machining process. It has the capability of cutting high-strength alloys, namely, tool alloys, Hastelloy, and monel with very tight tolerance. Frequent wire breakage adversely affects the product geometric precision, surface integrity, and productivity of the manufacturing establishments. It is essential to understand the causes of wire breakage and to mitigate the frequency of its occurrence. This paper comprehensively reviews the experimental as well as theoretical research work reported on various aspects of wire electrode erosion such as the effect of heat generated in spark plasma, thermal stresses, wire rupture phenomena, and wire fatigue. It also presents important research findings on the causes of wire failure and advancements to reduce wire erosion and wire vibrations. The paper systematically and carefully examines the measures suggested to improve the wire life and depicts the development of various wire health monitoring and control systems. Overall, it presents useful insights and important guidelines for the efficient utilization of the wire EDM process by mitigating the causes of wire erosion and its failure. It will certainly help for the improvement of the precision machining capability of the WEDM process.