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gauche

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adjective, \ˈgōsh\

Simple Definition of gauche

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

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of gauche

sometimes gaucher sometimes gauchest

  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>

gauchely adverb
gaucheness noun

Examples of gauche in a sentence

  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>



Did You Know?

Gauche is one of several words that come from old suspicions or negative associations surrounding the left side and use of the left hand. In French, "gauche" literally means "left," and it has the extended meanings "awkward" and "clumsy." Presumably these meanings came about because left-handed people could appear awkward trying to manage in a right-handed world - or perhaps because right-handed people appear awkward when they try to use their left hand. In fact, "awkward" itself comes from the Middle English awke, meaning "turned the wrong way or "left-handed." On the other hand, "adroit" and "dexterity" have their roots in words meaning "right" or "on the right side."

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



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