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

Collingwood also cites micronutrient deficiencies in B vitamins, iron, magnesium, selenium and potassium as a potential pitfall of keto eating, along with a chance of ketoacidosis. Katie Parsons, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Ketogenic diet popular for weight loss," 13 June 2018 Repeatedly, the Trump administration has failed to recognize potential pitfalls for their nominees or worked to ensure Republican lawmakers in charge on Capitol Hill are on board. Pamela Brown, CNN, "Jackson spotlights the frustration with poor White House vetting," 25 Apr. 2018 In instructing juries, judges address the potential pitfalls of memory. Jonathan Lai, Philly.com, "How to keep innocent people out of prison: Limit mistaken IDs," 5 Apr. 2018 But there were pitfalls along the way, such as when Qian Qian gets infected from a bite. Susan King, latimes.com, "Imax's 'Pandas' tracks China's efforts to release pandas back in to the wild," 2 Apr. 2018 As a former lawyer, Ms. Schaaf understands the potential pitfalls in warning unauthorized immigrants of an impending raid. Thomas Fuller, New York Times, "Who Is Libby Schaaf, the Oakland Mayor Who Warned of Immigration Raids?," 1 Mar. 2018 The potential pitfalls were highlighted recently when an Australian college student discovered that maps released by the fitness-tracking app Strava could be used to identify U.S. military bases. NBC News, "Our digital devices may be revealing more about us than we realize," 8 Feb. 2018 As a department — and especially in its men’s basketball program — UK has initiated a variety of training sessions to teach athletes not only how to navigate the potential pitfalls of social media but also use it to advance their own goals. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Right to free tweets: How Kentucky and other schools deal with athletes on social media," 11 Jan. 2018 Control of the club comes with immense clout and prestige, as well as pitfalls and enemies. New York Times, "Election Day for a Beleaguered Turkish Soccer Power," 1 June 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

11 Nov 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).


obstinately defiant of authority

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