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 her 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
References in classic literature ?
I did not then know the besetting sin of woman, the passion to discuss her private affairs with anyone who is willing to listen.
Manuel had one besetting sin. He loved to play Chinese lottery.
The cursed greed which has been my besetting sin through life has withheld from her the treasure, half at least of which should have been hers.
Querulousness was Claire's besetting sin. Elizabeth was such a pal.
His besetting sin at archery had ever been an undue haste and carelessness.
In the constant effort not to be betrayed into a new phase of the besetting sin of his experience, the pursuit of selfish objects by low and small means, and to hold instead to some high principle of honour and generosity, there might have been a little merit.
His besetting sin gained so fast upon him, however, that it was found impossible to employ him in the situations in which he really was useful to the theatre.
I know he couldn't love a Linton; and yet he'd be quite capable of marrying your fortune and expectations: avarice is growing with him a besetting sin. There's my picture: and I'm his friend - so much so, that had he thought seriously to catch you, I should, perhaps, have held my tongue, and let you fall into his trap.'
But I thought - I implore you to remember the narrow construction which has been my besetting sin - that, in a case where there was so much disparity in point of years -'
These are the five besetting sins of a general, ruinous to the conduct of war.
If he had belonged to the present generation he would, under the circumstances, have fallen into one of the besetting sins of England in these days--the tendency (to borrow an illustration from the stage) to "strike an attitude" in the presence of a social emergency.
But then, Diana, even ministers are human and have their besetting sins just like everybody else.
The other besetting sin of African presidents, unfortunately, is that if they come from the biggest tribe (as they most often do), when they get into deep political trouble their default solution is to fall back on tribal loyalties.
Even more than lackluster design, value engineering is the besetting sin of architecture in the five boroughs, and it produces that sinking feeling that corners were cut, and the cheapest materials were used, to save the most money.
Ennui, Baudelaire once wrote, is the besetting sin of bourgeois society, and all McGavran's characters are decidedly bourgeois, whether they are happy or unhappy.