short·​fall | \ ˈshȯrt-ˌfȯl How to pronounce shortfall (audio) \

Definition of shortfall

: a failure to come up to expectation or need a budget shortfall also : the amount of such failure a $2 million shortfall

Examples of shortfall in a Sentence

a shortfall in milk production
Recent Examples on the Web The main driver of the housing shortfall is that the construction of residential houses hasn’t been keeping up with demand since 2011. Nick Ron, Forbes, 14 Oct. 2021 The economy has added around 4.9 million jobs this year through September—closing nearly half of the shortfall that existed in December. Nick Timiraos, WSJ, 8 Oct. 2021 In the wake of that shortfall, Biden stressed the need to go door to door if needed to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 July 2021 Congress tried to make up for some of the shortfall, providing transit agencies with $25 billion through the CARES Act in March 2020 and following up with $14 billion in December. Elliott Ramos, NBC News, 22 July 2021 Most of the revenue shortfall stemmed from a decrease in sports and fitness memberships and community services due to the pandemic. Allana Haynes,, 21 July 2021 Most of that shortfall is absorbed by the agency’s research account, which would grow by 11%, to $7.7 billion, instead of the 18% boost that Biden is seeking. Science News Staff, Science | AAAS, 12 July 2021 The cut, which would take effect July 1 at the start of the state fiscal year, is a result of a shortfall in the federal Crime Victims Fund, which pays for the grant. James Brooks, Anchorage Daily News, 13 Apr. 2021 Other countries helped plug some of the shortfall, but the agency has continued to operate under severe financial constraints. New York Times, 7 Apr. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'shortfall.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of shortfall

1895, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About shortfall

Time Traveler for shortfall

Time Traveler

The first known use of shortfall was in 1895

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near shortfall

short ess



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for shortfall

Last Updated

16 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Shortfall.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon
Seen & Heard
People are talking about

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for shortfall



English Language Learners Definition of shortfall

: a failure to get what is expected or needed also : the amount of such a failure

More from Merriam-Webster on shortfall

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for shortfall


Test Your Vocabulary

Dog Words Quiz

  • shiba puppy more or less demanding cuddles
  • Which of the following animals has a dog in its etymology?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!