Definition of gauche
- it would be gauche to mention the subject
- a gauche turn of phrase
- gauche conformation of molecules
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Would it be gauche of me to ask her how old she is?
his loud talking at the opera marked him as gauche and uncultured
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gauche.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Gauche is one of several words that come from old suspicions or negative associations surrounding the left side and use of the left hand. In French, "gauche" literally means "left," and it has the extended meanings "awkward" and "clumsy." Presumably these meanings came about because left-handed people could appear awkward trying to manage in a right-handed world - or perhaps because right-handed people appear awkward when they try to use their left hand. In fact, "awkward" itself comes from the Middle English awke, meaning "turned the wrong way or "left-handed." On the other hand, "adroit" and "dexterity" have their roots in words meaning "right" or "on the right side."
First Known Use: 1751See Words from the same year
: having or showing a lack of awareness about the proper way to behave : socially awkward
What made you want to look up gauche? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).
Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!
Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ
Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.TAKE THE QUIZ