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

Getting rid of old stuff isn't the only eco-averse thing about a closet clean-out: Restocking has pitfalls too. Jessica Cumberbatch Anderson, Marie Claire, "The Do's and Don't's of a Closet Refresh," 6 May 2019 Marketers that are spending more time and money on digital marketing often grapple with the pitfalls of advanced digital ad capabilities, such as fraudulent activity and a lack of transparency into where their ads land on the web. Alexandra Bruell, WSJ, "Ad Verification Company Integral Ad Science Taps Former Yahoo Executive as CEO," 12 Dec. 2018 These are the five biggest plumbing mistakes along with the best ways to avoid these common pitfalls. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The 5 Biggest Plumbing Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)," 14 Jan. 2019 By making smart choices on which insects to include, combined with clear photos and clear writing, Peterson avoids those pitfalls. Sandi Doughton, The Seattle Times, "What’s that bug? New Northwest field guide makes it easy to find out," 20 Aug. 2018 With an on-site employee and set parking spots, the concept should be able to avoid the pitfalls of failed, tech-fueled valet start-ups. Jack Flemming, latimes.com, "Uber and Lyft are forcing Southern California parking companies to adapt or die," 7 July 2018 Fresh Kitchen produces what the name suggests: healthy fare that avoids the pitfalls of other do-it-yourself fare. Lauren Delgado, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Design your own meal at Fresh Kitchen," 8 June 2018 In effect, Moynihan is still playing catch up with Dimon, While J.P. Morgan’s avoided the pitfalls of the mortgage boom and kept investing for the future, B of A shrank to survive. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "How Bank of America Can Catch J.P. Morgan," 22 Jan. 2018 Women face many pitfalls when trying to climb the ladder at Wall Street banks. Michelle Ma, WSJ, "Top Wall Street Women Say Technology Can Help Close the Gender Gap," 21 Mar. 2019

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

10 Jun 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 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

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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