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pit +‎ fall


  • (UK) enPR: pĭtʹfôl, IPA(key): /ˈpɪtfɔːl/
  • (US) enPR: pĭtʹfäl, IPA(key): /ˈpɪtfɔl/
  • (file)


pitfall (plural pitfalls)

  1. (figuratively) A potential problem, hazard, or danger that is easily encountered but not immediately obvious.
    Synonym: trap
    It's usually a simple task, but you should know the pitfalls before you attempt it yourself.
  2. (literally) A type of trap consisting of a concealed hole in the ground: victims fall into the hole and are unable to escape.
  3. (computing) An antipattern.
    Synonyms: antipattern, dark pattern
  4. (mining) Subsidence below ground in a mine, which can cause the ground level above to drop.
    • 1939 June, “Pertinent Paragraphs: Pitfalls”, in Railway Magazine, page 456:
      This pitfall, beginning in February and finishing in May, resulted in a drop of about 3 ft. in the platform level; during this period it was necessary to level the track three times weekly, and impose a service slack of 15 m.p.h. The subsidence appears now to have finished, and normal speed is once again permitted.



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