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

In the film, Crosby presents himself as a complicated, intelligent, and sporadically ornery figure, certain of his attributes and shortcomings; this makes him a strikingly clear-eyed narrator of his own life. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, "David Crosby Celebrates His Ornery Self in the Documentary “Remember My Name”," 16 July 2019 The leadership of the Shambhala Mountain Center is committed to learning from past shortcomings and improving its ability to create a safe place for guests and staff, Gayner said in the statement. Carina Julig, The Denver Post, "Shambhala Mountain Center apologizes for not properly addressing abuse, sexual misconduct," 10 July 2019 There's a weird morality to the slasher genre, whereby characters' fates are frequently tied to their sins or shortcomings, and Midsommar hews to that trope. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Midsommar is a slasher film with artsy ambitions that doesn’t quite work," 4 July 2019 In one episode noted by the superseding indictment, Hutchins evaluated the hacking tool Phase Bot in late 2014 and blogged about its shortcomings and weaknesses. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "WannaCry Hero’s New Legal Woes Spell Trouble for White Hat Hackers," 8 June 2018 Despite those successes, Rivers acknowledged that the Griffin/Paul Clippers will likely be defined by their postseason failures and shortcomings. Ben Golliver,, "Clippers’ Doc Rivers: ‘Out of Nowhere’ Blake Griffin Blockbuster Had its Roots in Playoff Collapses," 30 Jan. 2018 Again, UConn under Auriemma was largely unaffected by any AAC shortcomings, but the Huskies did slip to a No. 2 NCAA Tournament seed after finishing the regular season 31-2 (18-0 AAC). Mike Anthony,, "Mike Anthony: UConn women’s basketball better off in the Big East, even if the program never struggled in six years without it," 25 June 2019 The study from the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation is the first nongovernment effort to measure the successes and shortcomings of changes to the hostage recovery process enacted by the Obama administration and left in place by President Trump. Eric Tucker,, "Report: US must communicate better with hostage families," 24 June 2019 Republicans in Austin, who are feeling the first signs of political competition from Democrats in decades, have begun to focus their attention on the state’s shortcomings such as education. The Economist, "Texafornia dreaming," 20 June 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

21 Jul 2019

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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 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).


something desired as essential

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