faux pas

\ˈfō-ˌpä, fō-ˈpä\
plural faux pas\ˈfō-ˌpä(z), fō-ˈpä(z) \

Definition of faux pas 

: blunder Long, hot soaks in winter are a classic faux pas, since exposure to extreme heat after having been in the cold can cause small visible blood vessels to appear at the skin's surface.Elle especially : a social blunder … when I sauntered into the main dining room for my first breakfast, I realized I was the only person showing his legs. Careless faux pas, or was I being overly sensitive to the local culture? — David Swanson Campaigning last year seemed to convince her that she can venture out alone without making costly faux pas. Time Magazine It was not until I'd covered about fifty kilometers that I committed my most terrible social faux pas yet: I overtook another cyclist. — Polly Evans

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Examples of faux pas in a Sentence

Arriving too early would be a serious faux pas. according to an oft-told story, the queen set a guest at ease about a faux pas by politely imitating it

Recent Examples on the Web

Showing too much skin, especially cleavage, is a common guest faux pas. Ellen Warren, chicagotribune.com, "Going for a strong shoulder with (still stylish) shoulder pads," 10 July 2018 Socks and sandals are a perennial fashion faux pas. Rachel Hahn, Vogue, "Tyler, the Creator Miraculously Makes Socks and Sandals Look Cool Together," 4 June 2018 The national press was content to wait for another Harvard scion like Lawrence Summers or Richard Storey to make a sexist faux pas. William Stadiem, Town & Country, "Can Harvard's Storied Final Clubs Resist the Tides of Change?," 2 Aug. 2016 But that bridge of discussion has not been fully built in the West, which often leads to faux pas (in the best-case scenario) or political confusion and cultural tensions (in the worst-case scenario). Marie Claire, "The Butterfly Effect: Qatar," 4 June 2010 The faux pas, which was subsequently corrected, generated even more publicity for the Diclegis pill, and by the fall of 2015, sales jumped 21 percent to nearly $41.7 million, according to data from IQVIA, a market research firm. Ed Silverman, STAT, "A drug maker paid Kim Kardashian $500,000 for a few social media posts. Were they worth it?," 10 July 2018 Novelty companies such as Redbubble are also looking to profit from the first lady's faux pas by selling mugs and green T-shirts touting the same saying. Sarah Polus, chicagotribune.com, "Melania Trump's Zara jacket is selling for insane prices on secondhand sites," 27 June 2018 Biggest faux pas Not blending your contour well enough, leaving you with a five-o’clock shadow. Vanity Fair, Vanities, "SZA Loves Lisa Simpson, Balenciaga, and Her Rite Aid Hoodie," 26 June 2018 With this dress, Markle may have looked to the royal for inspo—sans fashion faux pas. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "It Sure Looks Like the Queen Inspired Meghan Markle's Latest Outfit Choice," 5 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'faux pas.' 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 faux pas

1676, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for faux pas

French, literally, false step

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Learn More about faux pas

Dictionary Entries near faux pas


faux jour


faux pas

faux satine


fava bean

Statistics for faux pas

Last Updated

28 Aug 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for faux pas

The first known use of faux pas was in 1676

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More Definitions for faux pas

faux pas


English Language Learners Definition of faux pas

: an embarrassing social mistake

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Comments on faux pas

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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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