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.

1275–1325; Middle English pittefalle, equivalent to pitte pit1 + falle (Old English fealle) trap

1, 2. See trap1.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
pitfall (ˈpɪtˌfɔːl)
1.  an unsuspected difficulty or danger
2.  a trap in the form of a concealed pit, designed to catch men or wild animals
[Old English pyttpit1 + fealle trap]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

c.1300, a type of animal trap, from pit (1) + fall (v.). Extended sense of "any hidden danger" is first recorded 1580s.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
That's part of the pleasure, but there's a potential pitfall.
We may only do the first, which is a major pitfall unless that first is the
  only reliable piece of data.
The ground is pocked with holes, many no wider than a café table, known as
  pitfall traps.
To catch the potential new shrews, the team used pitfall traps.
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