gauche was our Word of the Day on 11/02/2008. Hear the podcast!
Examples of gauche in a sentence
Among élite scientists, it was usually considered gauche to be obsessed with anything so tangible or immediate: brilliant discoveries were supposed to percolate. —Michael Specter, New Yorker, 3 Dec. 2007
… furnished it with, among other things, an embarrassingly gauche, oversized Roman Catholic basilica rumored to be larger even than St. Peter's in Vatican City … —Marc A. Schindler, Verbatim, Spring 1992
We were suburban housewives and mothers. As poets we took a respectful backseat to the male poets. We did not talk about our husbands and children in public; that would have been gauche indeed. —Maxine Kumin, In Deep, 1987
So lofty was her depreciatory manner that I felt myself gauche and was put on the defensive. —Joseph Heller, God Knows, 1984
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
Did You Know?
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."
Origin and Etymology of gauche
French, literally, left
First Known Use: 1751
Synonym Discussion of gauche
GAUCHE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of gauche for English Language Learners
: having or showing a lack of awareness about the proper way to behave : socially awkward
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