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

The Miami Dolphins have done a poor job of doing both the past few years because of athletic shortcomings, and talent deficiencies on the roster. Omar Kelly,, "Kelly: Dolphins looking to create matchup problems with first few picks in NFL draft | Commentary," 28 Apr. 2018 Nissan has checked nearly all the boxes for safety ratings, but the Pathfinder is let down by a few shortcomings, including poorly performing headlights and a few missing active safety features. Michael Simari, Car and Driver, "2018 Nissan Pathfinder," 22 Mar. 2018 So to make up for this shortcoming, the hotel debuted four overwater Brando Suites at its partner, the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa in December 2017. Paul Rubio, Condé Nast Traveler, "9 Beautiful Overwater Bungalows Around the World," 15 Feb. 2018 To that end, the DOJ ended an effort put in place by the Obama administration to investigate and publicize police department shortcomings. Monique Judge, The Root, "#RelationshipGoals and the Unrealistic Expectation of Picture-Perfectness," 8 Feb. 2018 These small shortcomings, though, don’t detract from Keen’s overall effort. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "How to Take the Internet Back From the Tech Companies," 6 Feb. 2018 Even with more reliable data, Medicare’s five-star rating system still has shortcomings. Jordan Rau, Washington Post, "‘Like A Ghost Town’: Erratic Nursing Home Staffing Revealed Through New Records," 13 July 2018 Even with more reliable data, Medicare’s five-star rating system still has shortcomings. Jordan Rau,, "‘It’s almost like a ghost town.’ Most nursing homes overstated staffing for years," 11 July 2018 The failure of Jimmy Carter’s one term in office (the product of a combination of his own shortcomings, congressional diffidence, and energy shocks engineered by OPEC) became a central theme of Republican messaging for decades. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Poll: Barack Obama Was the Greatest President of Our Lifetime," 11 July 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

1 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

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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