Definition of pitfall in English:



  • 1A hidden or unsuspected danger or difficulty:

    ‘the pitfalls of buying goods at public auctions’
    • ‘There are obvious pitfalls of such behavior, if it ever developed into a habit.’
    • ‘But it is also clear that there are many methodological pitfalls along the way.’
    • ‘For the company considering the decision to outsource, how can potential pitfalls be avoided?’
    • ‘The following cases illustrate a new pitfall that can lead to treatment failure.’
    • ‘The series also underlines the pitfalls inherent in a burning desire to become an overnight celebrity.’
    • ‘Architecture also serves as a good example domain to understand the pitfalls associated with evolutionary design.’
    • ‘Most heads of family businesses know the possible pitfalls ahead but few act in anticipation.’
    • ‘No matter how often you've done this job before there are still hidden snags and pitfalls along the way.’
    • ‘Recognizing the origin of the malignant tumor represents another diagnostic pitfall.’
    • ‘But I also recognize the need to avoid potential pitfalls.’
    • ‘He bought some books on self-publishing and brushed up on the perils and pitfalls involved.’
    • ‘However, as with many technology acquisitions, pitfalls lie at every stage in the process.’
    • ‘Or do you just want to point out the obvious pitfalls?’
    • ‘The competition fits in with the school's programme of teaching, which highlights the pitfalls of using fossil fuels.’
    • ‘The Business Place is running a course to help sidestep the pitfalls of starting your own company.’
    • ‘Another common pitfall is failing to understand the boss's goals, she said.’
    • ‘How do you deal with difficult grandchildren while avoiding the pitfalls of interfering or being over-critical?’
    • ‘The lawyer duly warned him of some possible pitfalls, and the book was published.’
    • ‘There will be numerous pitfalls along the way.’
    • ‘Many foreigners may resolve to avoid such potential pitfalls altogether, by taking their lives and businesses elsewhere.’
    hazard, danger, risk, peril, difficulty, issue, problem, catch, snag, stumbling block, drawback
    banana skin
    View synonyms
  • 2A covered pit for use as a trap.

    • ‘The pitfall traps some while others quickly jump away.’
    • ‘The pitfall trap or the nearest pit for turtles at the fence was also recorded in order to calculate a minimum straight-line travel distance from the release point using the Pythagorean theorem.’
    • ‘Polyethylene scintillation vials (2.5 cm in diameter and 6 cm in height) with a screw lid were used to create pitfall traps.’
    • ‘French also placed pitfall traps to monitor ground beetles on private farms, where some farmers are growing another type of Bt corn to control corn borer pests.’
    • ‘These are pitfall traps that lure the slugs using beer as a bait (real ale is said to be the most effective).’
    • ‘During this trial, escapes, and/or predation of click beetles caught in the pitfall traps was common, but was not observed in the pheromone traps.’
    • ‘Within each sampling area, 10 pitfall trap sites were created using a cylindrical auger.’
    • ‘If she accidentally stumbled across a trap or a pitfall, she would get out of the mess and warn everyone else of the danger.’
    • ‘Two permanent pitfall traps were located at each monitoring site.’
    • ‘Experimental animals were the first-generation offspring of beetles collected from carrion-baited pitfall traps in the field in May and June 2000.’
    • ‘The incidental captures may represent species that are either rare, are not habitually ground-dwelling, or that move little and are therefore unlikely to fall into pitfall traps.’
    • ‘Thirteen standard, plastic pitfall traps, with soapy solution in the bottom cup, were maintained throughout the stay to sample invertebrates.’
    • ‘The summed total of three sampling days for each of the 12 pitfall traps (three traps at four tidal heights) was used for each year in subsequent statistical analyses.’
    • ‘We sorted 7743 invertebrates from 712 pitfall traps.’
    • ‘Burying beetles were captured using pitfall traps baited with rotted chicken as outlined below.’
    • ‘The 16 to 20 oz. plastic cups used for cold drinks make ideal pitfall traps.’
    • ‘Generally, pitfall trap data indicated that darkling beetles significantly preferred unmowed areas to mowed areas, while crickets showed no preference.’
    • ‘Carabids typically are sampled using pitfall traps.’
    • ‘Well anyways, it was caught in a trap, a pitfall.’
    • ‘Slugs are attracted to beer, and this weakness can be exploited by deploying pitfall traps baited with beer (real ales with traces of yeast, rather than filtered lagers).’