9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pit-fawl] /ˈpɪtˌfɔl/
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
1, 2. See trap1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pitfall
  • 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.
  • Technical prowess in photography is both necessary and a potential pitfall.
  • Be strategic to avoid the pitfall of getting bogged down in busy work that never goes anywhere.
  • Coll has avoided a pitfall facing any reporter who is given access to secret government files.
  • It is a valid pitfall in everyday logic as well and has implications in social behaviour.
  • Because an era is defined in clichés, caricature is a natural pitfall of trying to embody one.
  • It also avoids too-clever-by-half trigger mechanisms and the opposite pitfall of a laborious legal process.
British Dictionary definitions for pitfall


an unsuspected difficulty or danger
a trap in the form of a concealed pit, designed to catch men or wild animals
Word Origin
Old English pyttpit1 + 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
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Word Origin and History for pitfall

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
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