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[shawrt-kuhm-ing] /ˈʃɔrtˌkʌm ɪŋ/
a failure, defect, or deficiency in conduct, condition, thought, ability, etc.:
a social shortcoming; a shortcoming of his philosophy.
Origin of shortcoming
First recorded in 1670-80; short + coming
fault, flaw, failing, weakness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for shortcomings
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Were they his rivals, he found the perfect word for their merits and shortcomings.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • It is easy for persons with plenty of money to moralize on the shortcomings of others.

    A Woman Intervenes Robert Barr
  • But somebody had to do the cooking, and whatever else his shortcomings, Beauty Smith could cook.

    White Fang Jack London
  • I would rather exaggerate than minimize my own shortcomings to you to-night.

    A Spirit in Prison Robert Hichens
  • Her comparisons made her burn with shame at her own shortcomings.

    A Singer from the Sea Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
British Dictionary definitions for shortcomings


a failing, defect, or deficiency
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for shortcomings



1670s, from the phrase to come short "be inadequate" (1570s); see short (adj.). Related: Shortcomings.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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