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 According to Pasternak, their contretemps was about tights (the British word for pantyhose) and whether child bridesmaids, including Kate's daughter Princess Charlotte, then 3, would wear them. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Palace nixes Duchess Meghan, Kate 'feud' rumors, criticizes 'inaccuracies' in rare response," 27 May 2020 Officials blamed the contretemps on an information disconnect between the government’s Institute of Health and Welfare and the state company running Helsinki’s bustling international airport. Gordon F. Sander, The Christian Science Monitor, "Premier for a pandemic: How millennial Sanna Marin won Finland’s approval," 6 Apr. 2020 Oh, and that’s the one funny thing about the contretemps featuring the Chinese government and the NBA., "Daryl Morey’s infamous tweet," 11 Oct. 2019 But that contretemps was decidedly secondary to Tuesday's main headline: Impeachment. Susan Page, USA TODAY, "Analysis: Articles of impeachment? Sure. Plus a trade deal, an FBI feud, a campaign rally and more," 10 Dec. 2019 At some point, on-court drama will trump off-court contretemps, almost every time. Sean Gregory, Time, "How LeBron James Reignited the NBA-China Conflict Just Days Before Tipoff," 15 Oct. 2019 In one contretemps, Mr. Kraft regarded Scott Carpenter, one of America’s original astronauts, as insubordinate on a Mercury flight and grounded him permanently. Robert D. Mcfadden, New York Times, "Christopher Kraft, NASA’s Face and Voice of Mission Control, Dies at 95," 22 July 2019 And nowhere were these competing demands on display more than in the contretemps with Mr. Biden. Jonathan Martin, New York Times, "Is Cory Booker Too Nice? (And Is That Bad?)," 25 June 2019 That could backfire if the contretemps over Omar and Tlaib is more than a blip. Fox News, "Reporter's Notebook: Spat over scrapped 'Squad' members' Israel visit is tricky politics for both sides," 17 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for contretemps

Time Traveler

The first known use of contretemps was in 1769

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Statistics for contretemps

Last Updated

30 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Contretemps.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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How to pronounce contretemps (audio) How to pronounce contretemps (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of contretemps

: an unfortunate or embarrassing event, argument, or disagreement

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