draw·​back | \ˈdrȯ-ˌbak \

Definition of drawback 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a refund of duties especially on an imported product subsequently exported or used to produce a product for export

2 : an objectionable feature : disadvantage The plan's only drawback is its cost.

draw back

\drȯ-ˈbak \

Definition of draw back (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to avoid an issue or commitment

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Synonyms & Antonyms for drawback

Synonyms: Noun

debit, disadvantage, disbenefit, downside, handicap, incommodity, liability, minus, negative, strike

Antonyms: Noun

advantage, asset, edge, plus

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Examples of drawback in a Sentence


The trip sounds great, but cost is a major drawback. this plan has only one drawback: it's unworkable

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Executives from traditional studios were quick to point out the film’s commercial drawbacks. Erich Schwartzel, WSJ, "Netflix Sees Oscar Gold in ‘Roma,’ but Hollywood Isn’t So Sure," 17 Nov. 2018 Whatever the case, white women finally decided that the drawbacks of standing with the white men of the Republican Party outweighed the benefits. Anna North, Vox, "The midterm election shows white women are finally starting to abandon Trump," 7 Nov. 2018 Some drawbacks include a harness that is difficult to tighten and loosen, a seat cover that's hard to remove and can only be washed by hand, and just a line that shows when the seat is at the correct angle. The Good Housekeeping Institute, Good Housekeeping, "Eddie Bauer® Alpha Elite 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat," 24 Sep. 2018 Despite these drawbacks, some 40,000 Iraqis from other provinces have flocked to the city in recent years, said Saeedi. Nabih Bulos, latimes.com, "Basra was once a jewel of a city. Now it's a symbol what's wrong in Iraq," 17 June 2018 For all the drawbacks of monopolies, the recent merger of the two largest transportation companies into the, uh, überservice Ryde finally gave us a consistent method for moving around cities. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The World of 2045," 14 Oct. 2018 The actor went on to highlight the drawbacks of being famous, noting that privacy is hard to come by as a celebrity. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Ashley Benson Won't Confirm or Deny Cara Delevingne Dating Rumors," 25 Aug. 2018 Ivory stressed that the project received a unanimous final approval in May from the city’s Planning Commission, which said San Diego’s need for more housing in ideal spots outweighs some drawbacks of the project’s dense design. David Garrick, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Opponents sue to block Hillcrest high-rise over community character concerns," 10 July 2018 Joel, a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, has a unique condition that has both benefits and drawbacks. Helen Thomson, WSJ, "Strange Stories of Extraordinary Brains—and What We Can Learn From Them," 29 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'drawback.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of drawback


1697, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for drawback

Last Updated

26 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for drawback

The first known use of drawback was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for drawback



English Language Learners Definition of drawback

: something that causes problems


draw·​back | \ˈdrȯ-ˌbak \

Kids Definition of drawback

: an unwanted feature or characteristic My only drawback is that I look something like a mouse.— E. B. White, Stuart Little

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More from Merriam-Webster on drawback

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with drawback

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for drawback

Spanish Central: Translation of drawback

Nglish: Translation of drawback for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of drawback for Arabic Speakers

Comments on drawback

What made you want to look up drawback? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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