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

Synonyms for shortcoming Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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



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

Word Origin and History for shortcoming

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper