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

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 Panic avoids this pitfall with a few crucial design-language tricks, including thinness (9 mm), lightness (3.03 oz / 86 g), and adequate width. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 18 Apr. 2022 One way to avoid this pitfall is to allocate health care funds in part based on community needs like transportation, housing, and employment, but implement payment arrangements with the same standards and rules in all communities. Amol Navathe, STAT, 30 Mar. 2022 The onset of social media — wherein a moment can be pulled out of context and go viral — has added another career-threatening pitfall. Washington Post, 11 Mar. 2022 Avoid this pitfall by focusing on the one or two metrics that are most critical to producing the best outcome. Curt Steinhorst, Forbes, 28 Oct. 2021 Failure to understand interdependencies connected to an application (and its infrastructure and component software) is a common pitfall. Conal Gallagher, Forbes, 13 Oct. 2021 Despite the convenience, these trackers have one serious pitfall if used for devious means: anyone can slip the devices into an unsuspecting person’s bag or attach it to their car. Manasee Wagh, Popular Mechanics, 3 Feb. 2022 The second, more challenging pitfall to avoid is appearing too partisan, ghoulish, and grasping in the attempt to exercise appropriate oversight and engage in constructive criticism of what the Biden administration has done. W. James Antle Iii, The Week, 2 Sep. 2021 Palihapitiya avoids this pitfall by tapping into empathy. Jerry Weissman, Forbes, 16 June 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of pitfall

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About pitfall

Time Traveler for pitfall

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near pitfall



pit field

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for pitfall

Last Updated

3 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pitfall.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pitfall. Accessed 19 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for pitfall


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on pitfall

Nglish: Translation of pitfall for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pitfall for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Food

  • a-light
  • Name these cookies!
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!