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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
1670-80; short + coming
fault, flaw, failing, weakness. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for shortcomings
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The shortcomings of the clergy had long been part of the stock-in-trade of almost all the Deistical writers.

    The English Church in the Eighteenth Century Charles J. Abbey and John H. Overton
  • The Master said, His shortcomings trouble a gentleman; to be unknown does not trouble him.

  • This prejudice in favor of man does not seem to be destroyed by his shortcomings for ages.

    At Home And Abroad Margaret Fuller Ossoli
  • They have became agents of change in spite of all the shortcomings of education.

  • Therefore, for all our miseries and shortcomings, we hold responsible the historical surprises that burst upon us from outside.

    Nationalism Rabindranath Tagore
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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