short·​com·​ing | \ ˈshȯrt-ˌkə-miŋ How to pronounce shortcoming (audio) , 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

Nick’s shortcomings may be a result of the overambitious script. Christopher Muther,, "A ‘Jagged Little Pill’ for these times," 25 May 2018 That's a marked shortcoming of its original intention to deliver 1,200 planes. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "Airbus to Stop Production of the Colossal A380 as Airlines Transition to Smaller Planes," 14 Feb. 2019 There’s a new type of bond fund that aims to solve a shortcoming of traditional bond funds. Jeff Brown, WSJ, "The Pros and Cons of ‘Target Maturity’ Bond Funds," 1 Feb. 2019 Now, Patrick Wardle, a former National Security Agency hacker and macOS security expert has exposed a major shortcoming that generically affects many of these secondary defenses. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Malware has no trouble hiding and bypassing macOS user warnings," 14 Aug. 2018 Orchard, whose team includes three former Glaxo executives, wants to one-up the larger company by taking aim at a Strimvelis shortcoming., "Bloomberg," 6 Mar. 2018 The conference schedule has exposed Michigan State’s shortcomings without Joshua Langford, who is out for the season with a foot injury. Terry Towery, The Seattle Times, "Illinois’ defense spurs 79-74 win over No. 9 Michigan State," 6 Feb. 2019 Still, there’s good news, for some: Air France, its national carrier, is compensating for the hub’s shortcomings by investing heavily in improving the experience for their business and Flying Blue Elite Plus members. Lindsey Tramuta, Condé Nast Traveler, "Air France's Business Lounge at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Reopens—With Saunas," 25 Jan. 2018 Phoenix will deal with Jean Grey’s cosmic dark side while hopefully avoiding the shortcomings that doomed X-Men: The Last Stand (a film that no longer exists in canon thanks to some time-travel shenanigans). Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "The 2019 Sci-Fi Film Guide," 3 Jan. 2019

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

12 May 2019

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 How to pronounce shortcoming (audio) \

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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Comments on shortcoming

What made you want to look up shortcoming? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


highly pertinent or appropriate

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