Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

gauche

play
adjective \ˈgōsh\

Simple Definition of gauche

  • : having or showing a lack of awareness about the proper way to behave : socially awkward

Full Definition of gauche

sometimes gauch·er sometimes gauch·est

  1. 1 a :  lacking social experience or grace; also :  not tactful :  crude <it would be gauche to mention the subject> b :  crudely made or done <a gauche turn of phrase>

  2. 2 :  not planar <gauche conformation of molecules>

gauche·ly adverb
gauche·ness noun

Examples of gauche

  1. Among élite scientists, it was usually considered gauche to be obsessed with anything so tangible or immediate: brilliant discoveries were supposed to percolate. —Michael Specter, New Yorker, 3 Dec. 2007

  2. … furnished it with, among other things, an embarrassingly gauche, oversized Roman Catholic basilica rumored to be larger even than St. Peter's in Vatican City… —Marc A. Schindler, Verbatim, Spring 1992

  3. We were suburban housewives and mothers. As poets we took a respectful backseat to the male poets. We did not talk about our husbands and children in public; that would have been gauche indeed. —Maxine Kumin, In Deep,1987

  4. So lofty was her depreciatory manner that I felt myself gauche and was put on the defensive. —Joseph Heller, God Knows,1984

  5. Would it be gauche of me to ask her how old she is?

  6. <his loud talking at the opera marked him as gauche and uncultured>



Origin of gauche

French, literally, left


First Known Use: 1751

Synonym Discussion of gauche

awkward, clumsy, maladroit, inept, gauche mean not marked by ease (as of performance, movement, or social conduct). awkward is widely applicable and may suggest unhandiness, inconvenience, lack of muscular control, embarrassment, or lack of tact <periods of awkward silence>. clumsy implies stiffness and heaviness and so may connote inflexibility, unwieldiness, or lack of ordinary skill <a clumsy mechanic>. maladroit suggests a tendency to create awkward situations <a maladroit politician>. inept often implies complete failure or inadequacy <a hopelessly inept defense attorney>. gauche implies the effects of shyness, inexperience, or ill breeding <felt gauche and unsophisticated at formal parties>.

Rhymes with gauche



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up gauche? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 11, 2016

the holder of an office

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

2.2 pounds 100 pounds 16.96 pounds 196.5 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ