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

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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

And there were brief reminders of another contretemps that Mr. Trump set off just before leaving the United States. Mark Landler, New York Times, "Trump Insults London Mayor as ‘Loser’ as He Pays Tribute to the Queen," 3 June 2019 And the contretemps contains a revealing look at the sausage-making of investigative reporting and the sometimes murky dance between reporters and their unnamed sources. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Why CNN is standing by a Michael Cohen story that his lawyer calls false," 29 Aug. 2018 In October 2015, just two months after the debate contretemps, Wallace scored an interview with Trump, who was horrifying many but impressing Wallace—a feeling the anchor still has. Andrew Goldman, Town & Country, "Chris Wallace Is Fox News's Man in the Middle," 17 Nov. 2018 At bottom, the contretemps is personal: The former USFL team owner was ticked off that most of the Eagles didn't plan on showing up, with fewer than 10 expected. Howard Kurtz, Fox News, "Going on offense: Trump cancels Eagles after most blew off White House visit," 6 June 2018 Avenatti, by the way, who has been dead-on in his predictions of how the Stormy-Donald contretemps would unfold, says that the president won’t serve out his first term. Elizabeth Drew, The New Republic, "Follies," 27 Apr. 2018 Understanding the gravity of the contretemps requires a glimpse into the fastidious fashion in which the NTSB does its job. Faiz Siddiqui, Washington Post, "Tesla may have violated federal rules by releasing information about fatal California crash," 2 Apr. 2018 In fact, Washington perhaps should have gotten interested in Facebook well before the Trump election contretemps. Helaine Olen, Anchorage Daily News, "Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg need to come clean about 2016. Now.," 20 Mar. 2018 My colleague Jesse Singal has a sane summary of the contretemps here. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "The World Is Better Than Ever. Why Are We Miserable?," 9 Mar. 2018

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.

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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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Statistics for contretemps

Last Updated

14 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for contretemps

The first known use of contretemps was in 1769

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English Language Learners Definition of contretemps

: an unfortunate or embarrassing event, argument, or disagreement

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