short·​com·​ing | \ˈshȯrt-ˌkə-miŋ, ˌshȯrt-ˈkə-\

Definition of shortcoming 

: an imperfection or lack that detracts from the whole also : the quality or state of being flawed or lacking

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Synonyms & Antonyms for shortcoming


demerit, dereliction, failing, fault, foible, frailty, sin, vice, want, weakness


merit, virtue

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Examples of shortcoming in a Sentence

Her lack of attention to detail is her biggest shortcoming. The main shortcoming of this camera is that it uses up batteries quickly.

Recent Examples on the Web

Until then, the City of Blaine will continue to reap the benefits of Amazon Canada’s shortcomings and the town’s unique geographical location. Alexandra Samuel, The Verge, "Welcome to Blaine, the town Amazon Prime built," 20 June 2018 Neville makes some effort to include Rogers’s shortcomings as well, like the fact that the host wouldn’t let Clemmons publicly acknowledge his homosexuality in the 1970s, knowing the show’s sponsors would disapprove. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Quietly Radical Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood," 4 June 2018 The naming of economist Giovanni Tria as economy minister, instead of euroskeptic Paolo Savona, is also being seen as somewhat reassuring, even if Mr. Tria has also been critical of the eurozone’s shortcomings. Richard Barley, WSJ, "The Italian Saga Is Far From Over," 1 June 2018 Orlando Pride coach Tom Sermanni wasn’t shy when talking about his club’s shortcomings after a 4-3 loss to the North Carolina Courage. Jordan Culver, Pro Soccer USA, "Coach Tom Sermanni: Orlando Pride lack initiative," 25 May 2018 Some of Detroit’s narrative shortcomings are no doubt a result of its extreme devotion to player choice. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Detroit: Become Human review: Robotic in all of the wrong ways," 24 May 2018 But some of the team’s shortcomings can be attributed to a simple lack of experience as Tulane has just two seniors on its roster to go along 24 underclassmen. Brian Murphy,, "UCF baseball to honor seniors, chase momentum during regular-season finale series," 17 May 2018 In theory, liberals can fulfill the role of calling out their own side’s shortcomings and errors. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Why Liberal Media Need Conservative Columnists," 10 May 2018 The plant’s shortcomings affected all of Johnson County’s 450,000 wastewater customers through their sewer charges. Lynn Horsley, kansascity, "Johnson County's new sewer plant won't stink for taxpayers | The Kansas City Star," 13 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shortcoming.' 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 shortcoming

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for shortcoming

Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for shortcoming

The first known use of shortcoming was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for shortcoming



English Language Learners Definition of shortcoming

: a weakness in someone's character : a personal fault or failing

: a bad feature : a flaw or defect in something


short·​com·​ing | \ˈshȯrt-ˌkə-miŋ \

Kids Definition of shortcoming

: fault sense 1 … her most serious shortcoming seemed to be a tendency to fall into daydreams in the middle of a task …— Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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