pitfall

[ pit-fawl ]
/ ˈpɪtˌfɔl /

noun

a lightly covered and unnoticeable pit prepared as a trap for people or animals.
any trap or danger for the unwary: the pitfall of excessive pride.

Origin of pitfall

1275–1325; Middle English pittefalle, equivalent to pitte pit1 + falle (Old English fealle) trap
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pitfall

British Dictionary definitions for pitfall

pitfall

/ (ˈpɪtˌfɔːl) /

noun

an unsuspected difficulty or danger
a trap in the form of a concealed pit, designed to catch men or wild animals

Word Origin for pitfall

Old English pytt pit 1 + fealle trap
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

Word Origin and History for pitfall

pitfall


n.

c.1300, "concealed hole," a type of animal trap, from pit (n.1) + fall (n.). Extended sense of "any hidden danger" is first recorded early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper