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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce faux-pas (audio)

Dictionary definition of faux-pas

A social blunder, mistake, or breach of etiquette that is considered socially embarrassing or inappropriate within a particular cultural context.
"The actor's gaffe on the red carpet was widely reported as a faux pas."

Detailed meaning of faux-pas

When someone commits a faux pas, they inadvertently violate accepted norms of behavior or decorum, often causing discomfort or offense to others. Faux pas can take various forms, such as saying or doing something impolite, tactless, or culturally insensitive. For example, wearing inappropriate attire to a formal event, making an insensitive remark in a social gathering, or forgetting someone's name in a professional setting can all be considered faux pas. The term "faux pas" is borrowed from French, where it literally means "false step," highlighting the idea that such errors are like stumbling in social situations, momentarily breaking the expected harmony of interactions. It serves as a reminder of the importance of being aware of and respecting social conventions and norms in different situations.

Example sentences containing faux-pas

1. Her unintentional comment at the dinner party was a major faux pas.
2. He committed a fashion faux pas by wearing mismatched socks.
3. Making a faux pas during a job interview can be costly.
4. The host gracefully overlooked his dining etiquette faux pas.
5. Her pronunciation error turned into a linguistic faux pas.
6. In some cultures, showing the soles of your feet is a faux pas.

History and etymology of faux-pas

The noun 'faux-pas' has its origins in French. It directly translates to 'false step' in English. 'Faux' means 'false' or 'fake,' and 'pas' means 'step.' The term 'faux-pas' is used to describe a social blunder, mistake, or breach of etiquette that is considered socially embarrassing or inappropriate within a particular cultural context. It implies a misstep or error in one's behavior or actions, often resulting from ignorance or a lack of awareness of accepted social norms. The etymology of 'faux-pas' underscores the idea of making a figurative misstep in social situations, akin to taking a false step while walking, which can lead to awkward or uncomfortable consequences in social interactions.

Quiz: Find the meaning of faux-pas

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Further usage examples of faux-pas

1. She avoided any political faux pas during the diplomatic meeting.
2. His inappropriate joke at the funeral was a serious faux pas.
3. Texting during a meeting is considered a workplace faux pas.
4. Her misplaced humor led to a social media faux pas.
5. His choice of music for the wedding was a cultural faux pas.
6. The use of slang in formal writing is a grammatical faux pas.
7. Mixing up the names of guests was a party faux pas.
8. Not RSVPing to the invitation was a common social faux pas.
9. His public proposal turned into an embarrassing faux pas.
10. The mispronunciation of names is a common pronunciation faux pas.
11. She inadvertently wore white to a wedding, a wedding faux pas.
12. Using the wrong fork during dinner is a classic dining faux pas.
13. The accidental spillage of wine was a dining room faux pas.
14. Talking loudly in a library is a well-known library faux pas.
15. Texting while driving is a dangerous and illegal faux pas.
16. Mispronouncing a foreign word is a language faux pas.
17. Mixing up business and personal matters is a professional faux pas.
18. The misuse of words can lead to a communication faux pas.
19. Not acknowledging a gift is a common gift-giving faux pas.



blunder, propriety, correctness, etiquette


GRE 9 (Graduate Record Examination), Conduct and Character, Embarrassment and Discomfort, Connections and Interactions

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