besetting sin

(redirected from a besetting sin)

besetting sin

A flaw or shortcoming that someone or something tends to display. I doubt she'll listen to everything you have to say—her lack of patience is a besetting sin.
See also: sin

besetting sin

a fault to which a person or institution is especially prone; a characteristic weakness.
The verb beset literally means ‘surround with hostile intent’, so the image is of a sin besieging or pressing in upon a person.
1974 Donal Scannell Mother Knew Best Mother said vanity was a besetting sin which Amy resented, to say the least of it.
See also: sin