Definition of gauche
- it would be gauche to mention the subject
- a gauche turn of phrase
- gauche conformation of molecules
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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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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
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