pit·​fall | \ ˈpit-ˌfȯl How to pronounce pitfall (audio) \

Definition of pitfall

1 : trap, snare specifically : a pit flimsily covered or camouflaged and used to capture and hold animals or men
2 : a hidden or not easily recognized danger or difficulty

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Examples of pitfall in a Sentence

buying a house can be full of pitfalls for the unwary one of the pitfalls of ignorance is that people will also assume you're stupid
Recent Examples on the Web And all the ways Kevin defends his family home and property are unforgettable moments in Hollywood pranks and pitfalls. Randy Blaser, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Tourists are still flocking to the ‘Home Alone’ house. I get the appeal.," 12 Dec. 2019 Be specific Lastly, the women offered advice for avoiding a common pitfall: Casting too wide a net for the kind of board women want to serve. Fortune, "5 Tips for Women Who Want A Corporate Board Seat," 11 Dec. 2019 To keep parents in the loop, counselors also have hosted parent information nights touching on topics such as the dangers and pitfalls of social media, drug and alcohol use and why mental health is important. Carissa D. Lamkahouan, Houston Chronicle, "Trustee: Pearland ISD mental health initiatives paying off," 6 Nov. 2019 Dennis Baron, an English professor at the University of Illinois, has been documenting the growing use of the singular they as well as the pitfalls along the way. Ben Zimmer, The Atlantic, "The Singular They Is Here to Stay," 27 Sep. 2019 While the bill is at once potentially transformative, it is also filled with complications and pitfalls, said Stanford law professor William Gould, a former National Labor Relations Board chairman. Judy Lin, The Mercury News, "Labor had a banner year in California — now will workers unionize?," 21 Sep. 2019 The Rising youth program helps parents navigate the system’s opportunities and pitfalls. Brian Sodoma, azcentral, "Youth soccer program creates pathways to success for local talent," 31 July 2019 The bird, Gonzalez admitted, was bait to lure another songbird to land on its pitfall door, which would drop the visitor into the trap and spring shut, preventing its escape. Karine Aigner, National Geographic, "Songbirds are being snatched from Miami’s forests," 25 July 2019 Yet researchers site the biggest pitfall as the lack of accountability. Josh Linkner, Detroit Free Press, "Hello future you: Try this hack if you want your New Year's resolution to stick," 4 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pitfall.' 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 pitfall

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for pitfall

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pitfall

Last Updated

21 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pitfall.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pitfall. Accessed 29 January 2020.

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More Definitions for pitfall


How to pronounce pitfall (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pitfall

: a danger or problem that is hidden or not obvious at first


pit·​fall | \ ˈpit-ˌfȯl How to pronounce pitfall (audio) \

Kids Definition of pitfall

1 : a covered or camouflaged pit used to capture animals or people
2 : a danger or difficulty that is hidden or is not easily recognized He soon learned the pitfalls of publishing.

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More from Merriam-Webster on pitfall

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pitfall

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pitfall

Spanish Central: Translation of pitfall

Nglish: Translation of pitfall for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pitfall for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pitfall

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


to assert without proof or before proving

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