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

Unfortunately, a case from Germany has highlighted the potential pitfalls involved with using such a product, when Amazon accidentally sent a man 1,700 Alexa voice recordings of another user by mistake, according to German magazine c’t. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Amazon sent 1,700 Alexa voice recordings to the wrong user following data request," 20 Dec. 2018 Its management team and board are both packed with industry veterans, and the company certainly appears conscious of the potential pitfalls. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Rivian debuts new US-made electric truck and SUV with 400-mile range," 28 Nov. 2018 But don't rule out traditional favorites like Metropolitans, Totems and Thunderbirds, or the potential pitfalls that may come with them. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "What’s in a name? For Seattle’s future NHL team, more than meets the Sock-eye," 12 Aug. 2018 More Former negotiators say the process is full of potential pitfalls after more than 60 years of often acrimonious confrontation. Jessica Donati, WSJ, "Pompeo Seeks Some Details on North Korea’s Nuclear Promise," 6 July 2018 Putting It Together All of these potential pitfalls are surmountable, especially given a long enough time horizon. Brian Barrett, WIRED, "For Apple, Quitting Intel Won't Come Easy," 3 Apr. 2018 Get our daily newsletter Look the other way, though, and there are plenty of potential pitfalls. The Economist, "Two-facedThe sunny and the dark side of AI," 28 Mar. 2018 For both sides, there are a lot of potential pitfalls. Washington Post, "Analysis: Caution likely to guide next steps in Koreas talks," 7 Mar. 2018 To get your best bird yet, avoid these pitfalls. 1. Susan Westmoreland, Good Housekeeping, "The 8 Biggest Mistakes You Make When Cooking a Turkey," 19 Nov. 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

7 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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More from Merriam-Webster on pitfall

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pitfall

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pitfall

Spanish Central: Translation of pitfall

Nglish: Translation of pitfall for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pitfall for Arabic Speakers

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