faux pas


ˈfō-ˌpä How to pronounce faux pas (audio)
plural faux pas ˈfō-ˌpä(z) How to pronounce faux pas (audio)
: a significant or embarrassing error or mistake : 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 socially awkward or improper act or remark
Audiences must be supportive and enthusiastic—lots of clapping, no heckling. (And talking on cellphones during the performance is a huge faux pas). Claudine Ise
… 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

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 Stick to the Dress Code Run your outfit past the bride and groom to avoid any fashion faux pas. Boutayna Chokrane, Vogue, 3 Nov. 2023 The braless look has gone from a fashion faux pas to an integral part of the effortless-girl aesthetic in recent years thanks, at least in part, to Kardashian’s own sister, Kendall Jenner, who has been freeing the nipple for quite some time. Emily Tannenbaum, Glamour, 27 Oct. 2023 Dear Miss Manners: What is the best way to extricate oneself from the faux pas of an uncontrollable laugh, snort or giggle? Jacobina Martin, Washington Post, 17 Oct. 2023 As seen in photos from the glam gala, the crown princess was quick to catch the faux pas and switched her navy sash to her right shoulder. Janine Henni, Peoplemag, 17 Oct. 2023 Morris says her biggest faux pas is looking visibly uncomfortable. Kerane Marcellus, Essence, 12 Oct. 2023 If there is a sense of fear among those around her that the next faux pas or negative headline or unwelcome spin lurks just around the corner, Harris herself betrays no such worry. Michelle Tauber, Peoplemag, 16 Nov. 2023 For him, that’s one of the biggest faux pas people make: offering too many discrete dishes and putting them all on the table at once. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 1 Nov. 2023 There has been growing confusion — and resentment — over tipping etiquette coming out of the pandemic, but declining to tip on food delivered to one’s door is still a clear faux pas. Carly Olson, Los Angeles Times, 1 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'faux pas.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, literally, false step

First Known Use

1676, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of faux pas was in 1676

Dictionary Entries Near faux pas

Cite this Entry

“Faux pas.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/faux%20pas. Accessed 7 Dec. 2023.

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