\ ˈgōsh How to pronounce gauche (audio) \
sometimes gaucher; sometimes gauchest

Definition of gauche

1a : lacking social experience or grace also : not tactful : crude it would be gauche to mention the subject
b : crudely made or done a gauche turn of phrase
2 : not planar gauche conformation of molecules

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Other Words from gauche

gauchely adverb
gaucheness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for gauche

awkward, clumsy, maladroit, inept, gauche mean not marked by ease (as of performance, movement, or social conduct). awkward is widely applicable and may suggest unhandiness, inconvenience, lack of muscular control, embarrassment, or lack of tact. periods of awkward silence clumsy implies stiffness and heaviness and so may connote inflexibility, unwieldiness, or lack of ordinary skill. a clumsy mechanic maladroit suggests a tendency to create awkward situations. a maladroit politician inept often implies complete failure or inadequacy. a hopelessly inept defense attorney gauche implies the effects of shyness, inexperience, or ill breeding. felt gauche and unsophisticated at formal parties

Gauche and Being Left-Handed

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."

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
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Recent Examples on the Web

Even by those standards, his latest scheme is remarkably gauche. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Trump’s Latest Get-Rich-Quick Scheme," 26 Aug. 2019 Talking about profit when these companies are growing so quickly may seem gauche to some investors, but there’s a lot of venture capital money riding on the answers to these questions. John Detrixhe, Quartz, "Digital banks are racking up users, but will they ever make money?," 1 Aug. 2019 This plenty contrasts with the pickings at school, where sweetly shy admirers such as Tommy (Simon Croker), who references Brokeback Mountain in class and is gauche enough to invite Sequin to a movie, fail to elicit much excitement. Harry Windsor, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Sequin in a Blue Room': Film Review | Outfest 2019," 22 July 2019 The painting has none of the gauche and gritty credibility of the Degas hanging beside it. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, "More and more people loathe Renoir. Is it time for a revival?," 25 June 2019 All the talk of panties was too titillating, too gauche., "‘Gorgeous Gussie’ Moran shocked Wimbledon 70 years ago, the first of many shocks that upended her life," 28 June 2019 Not long after the app first launched, simply running photos of the site of a tragedy through Instagram’s default filtering tools was seen as gauche. Taylor Lorenz, The Atlantic, "There’s Nothing Wrong With Posing for Photos at Chernobyl," 12 June 2019 That may sound like a gauche question, dishonoring the dead. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Mike Shinoda Asks Not to Be Defined by Loss," 21 June 2018 Lighting up a big smelly joint may, let’s hope, come to be seen as simply gauche. Robin Abrahams,, "Miss Conduct’s common sense rules for socializing in the age of legal pot," 19 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of gauche

1751, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for gauche

French, literally, left

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Dictionary Entries near gauche

Gatun Lake




Gaucher disease



Statistics for gauche

Last Updated

20 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for gauche

The first known use of gauche was in 1751

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More Definitions for gauche



English Language Learners Definition of gauche

: having or showing a lack of awareness about the proper way to behave : socially awkward

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More from Merriam-Webster on gauche

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gauche

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gauche

Spanish Central: Translation of gauche

Nglish: Translation of gauche for Spanish Speakers

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