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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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
Fewer still know anything about the city and its pitfalls.
Inverted said at the beginning is one of the first pitfalls that await the
  novice who affects sprightliness.
The historical school was a play-ground of traps and pitfalls.
But if you stick to two key fundamentals of preparedness, you'll be able to
  avoid the countless pitfalls.
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