faux pas

\ ˈfō-ˌpä How to pronounce faux pas (audio) , fō-ˈpä\
plural faux pas\ ˈfō-​ˌpä(z) How to pronounce faux pas (audio) , fō-​ˈpä(z) \

Definition of faux pas

: 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

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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

Rask and the Bruins never recovered from that faux pas, dropping the first Stanley Cup Game 7 hosted in the Hub in the Bruins’ 95-year history, 4-1. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Once again, an imperfect finish for Tuukka Rask," 13 June 2019 Those dark jackets in mid-July were a definite fashion faux pas. Steve Lopezcolumnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: At L.A. City Hall, incompetence and corruption are close cousins," 24 July 2019 For every sports triumph, there’s a slacktastic fashion faux pas; for every budget-friendly trip to Market Basket, there’s an apartment broker ready to devour your nest egg. BostonGlobe.com, "15 things to love and 11 things to loathe about Boston," 2 July 2019 But despite some backlash online, Ulta probably won’t take too hard a hit from what might fairly be considered a Frida faux pas. Sangeeta Singh-kurtz, Quartzy, "Ulta plucked Frida Kahlo’s eyebrow for the artist’s themed makeup kit," 10 July 2019 Brown would joke about teammates’ fashion faux pas and enliven practices with his spirit. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, "At funeral, former local basketball star Gerald Brown III remembered as a friend who 'just lifted you up'," 22 June 2019 Overall, there’s no major faux pas, such as oddly placed or half-sized keys. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "MSI GS65 Stealth Thin Review: This thin gaming laptop features 9th-gen Core and GTX 1660 Ti," 6 June 2019 The report falls in line with a long history of fascination with the lives of first children in the media, a tendency that has long been seen as a faux pas, yet still goes on. Meagan Flynn, The Seattle Times, "‘No part of her life should be anyone’s clickbait’: Tabloid’s Malia Obama report draws rebukes on social media," 19 Feb. 2019 Hairstylist and star of BET's Wig Out, Cliff Vmir, is back with six wig faux pas people are making, and how to fix 'em. Shammara Lawrence, Allure, "6 Common Wig Mistakes People Make and How to Fix Them," 21 Mar. 2019

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

14 Aug 2019

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on faux pas

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with faux pas

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for faux pas

Spanish Central: Translation of faux pas

Nglish: Translation of faux pas for Spanish Speakers

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a haphazard or makeshift solution

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