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See more synonyms for shortcoming on Thesaurus.com
  1. a failure, defect, or deficiency in conduct, condition, thought, ability, etc.: a social shortcoming; a shortcoming of his philosophy.
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Origin of shortcoming

First recorded in 1670–80; short + coming

Synonyms for shortcoming

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for shortcoming

flaw, lack, weakness, lapse, failing, defect, imperfection, deficiency, drawback, fault, frailty, sin, catch, bug, infirmity, demerit

Examples from the Web for shortcoming

Contemporary Examples of shortcoming

Historical Examples of shortcoming

  • She believed it was some fault, some shortcoming, of hers that had kept it from her.

    The Crooked House

    Brandon Fleming

  • Could their relationship fail because of this shortcoming on her part?

    Ten From Infinity

    Paul W. Fairman

  • But be it said that his ill success was due to no fault or shortcoming of his.

    The heart of happy hollow

    Paul Laurence Dunbar

  • They are, unhappily, temperate and accurate,—except in shortcoming of blame.

  • Madame did not receive this shortcoming of the courtier very favorably.

    Ten Years Later

    Alexandre Dumas, Pere

British Dictionary definitions for shortcoming


  1. a failing, defect, or deficiency
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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 shortcoming


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper