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 The data blunder is perhaps the most common and obvious pitfall. Blake Morgan, Forbes, "6 Common Pitfalls Of Personalization," 26 Apr. 2021 For Mansoor, the biggest pitfall for the Biden administration would come if a transition to zero-carbon energy increases costs for customers or undermines the reliability of the electricity grid. Abby Smith, Washington Examiner, "Electricity research CEO tells Biden how to do his climate math," 27 Mar. 2021 McKim avoids that pitfall with an archival fury of his own. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "“Wojnarowicz,” Reviewed: A Discerning and Tragic Vision of the Artist and His Times," 19 Mar. 2021 Making oneself the story is the biggest pitfall of the job. Marisa Meltzer, Town & Country, "Inside The Secret Society of White House Social Secretaries," 7 Mar. 2021 Yet, if the prime pitfall of spectacular cinema is bombast and vanity, that of small-scale cinema is sentimentality and complacency. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, "The 2021 Oscar Nominations, and What Should Have Made the List," 15 Mar. 2021 Alas, that is just another pitfall in a growing list of problems with the state’s vaccine program. Thuc Nhi Nguyen Staff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus Today: Our homegrown triple threat," 23 Feb. 2021 Another potential pitfall of such a system is inequality; someone without a smartphone would be unable to access a convenient, digital record of their vaccine. Clare Duffy, CNN, "Microsoft, Oracle and and other tech giants team up Covid-19 vaccine 'passports'," 16 Jan. 2021 Nigeria’s story reveals a common pitfall of police reform movements that’s also been seen in the United States and beyond. Samuel Fury Childs Daly, The Conversation, "Nigerians got their abusive SARS police force abolished – but elation soon turned to frustration," 8 Dec. 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

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pitfall.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pitfall. Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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.

Comments on pitfall

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