pit·fall | \ ˈpit-ˌfȯl \

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

What are the pitfalls for this administration going forward? Fox News, "Woolsey: Trump keeps the North Koreans off balance," 12 June 2018 But the impetus to grow and the ability to avoid the pitfalls of its competitors are fundamentally at odds. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "When Is Instagram Going to Blow It?," 6 June 2018 Liu warns suitors that overspending is only one potential pitfall. Mark Strassmann, CBS News, "Amazon HQ2: 20 finalists competing to host new headquarters," 18 Jan. 2018 But those pitfalls aside, the AirPods have remained on their own pedestal above the competition for well over a year because of their ease of use, rock-solid connection stability, and battery life. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Jabra Elite 65t review: the best AirPods alternative," 17 Apr. 2018 The cinematic depiction of people with disabilities and diseases comes with various potential pitfalls (more on that later), the risk of overfamiliarity and cliché not least among them. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Review: Joaquin Phoenix stars in the captivating addiction drama 'Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot'," 12 July 2018 Are there potentially greater pitfalls for LGBT travelers abroad? Kelsy Chauvin, Condé Nast Traveler, "The U.S. State Department's Travel Tips for Same-Sex Couples and Families," 13 June 2018 There are pitfalls in its group, perhaps most notably Nigeria, which beat (a Messi-less) Argentina 4-2 back in November. SI.com, "Argentina's World Cup Fate Tough to Peg Despite Messi, Star-Studded Squad," 2 June 2018 And there are some pitfalls that come up during recovery that survivors might want to avoid. refinery29.com, "7 Things To Know About Being Intimate After Sexual Assault," 22 May 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near pitfall





pit field

pit game

pit game fowl

Statistics for pitfall

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for pitfall

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

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More Definitions for pitfall



English Language Learners Definition of pitfall

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


pit·fall | \ ˈpit-ˌfȯl \

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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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 deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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