con·​tre·​temps | \ ˈkän-trə-ˌtäⁿ How to pronounce contretemps (audio) , kōⁿ-trə-täⁿ How to pronounce contretemps (audio) \
plural contretemps\ ˈkän-​trə-​(ˌ)täⁿ(z) How to pronounce contretemps (audio) \

Definition of contretemps

1 : an inopportune or embarrassing occurrence or situation

Examples of contretemps in a Sentence

The senator dismissed his disagreement with the President as a minor contretemps. there was a bit of a contretemps over the seating arrangements for the upcoming wedding
Recent Examples on the Web The contretemps at the library started because of some fliers. Globe Staff,, 14 May 2022 Elsewhere in Cannes, the ongoing contretemps between the festival and Netflix — which, protesting its de facto ban from the event’s main competition, hasn’t brought a movie here since 2017 — may have cooled a little in recent years. Justin Changfilm Critic, Los Angeles Times, 22 May 2022 Despite the contretemps two weeks earlier, the collaborative spirit was back in full swing. Jordan Runtagh,, 4 Apr. 2022 Last week, Johnson’s health secretary, Sajid Javid, acknowledged that the contretemps was damaging to Britain’s venerable democratic tradition of policing by consent, which is dependent on most people being willing to abide by rules. Christina Boyle, Los Angeles Times, 27 Jan. 2022 There were no significant moments of tension or any real contretemps, just the usual pleasantries, mild encouragements and civil interactions accompanying a golf round. Brendan Porath, New York Times, 26 Nov. 2021 Vice President Kamala Harris' visit to Paris and talks with French President Emmanuel Macron this week were the culmination of a weeks-long show of contrition by the US for the worst Franco-American diplomatic contretemps in years. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 11 Nov. 2021 The whole contretemps has left a lingering distrust of his family in the public’s mind. New York Times, 25 Oct. 2021 In the previous episode, the final one featuring him alive, he and Jennifer Aniston’s Alex Levy had a long, circular argument that so clearly resolved nothing as to suggest more contretemps between these characters might lie ahead. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 5 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'contretemps.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of contretemps

1769, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for contretemps

French, from contre- counter- + temps time, from Latin tempus

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The first known use of contretemps was in 1769

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Last Updated

4 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Contretemps.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

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