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 shortcomings

Contemporary Examples of shortcomings

Historical Examples of shortcomings

  • Were they his rivals, he found the perfect word for their merits and shortcomings.

  • It is easy for persons with plenty of money to moralize on the shortcomings of others.

  • 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

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