The noun faux pas (pronounced fo pa) is a French expression, literally translated as ‘false step’. It is commonly used in British English where the actual meaning is “social blunder or indiscretion” (according to The Free Dictionary http://www.thefreedictionary.com/faux+pas and the Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus). Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faux_pas also define it as “a slip or blunder in etiquette, manners, or conduct”.
According to Wikipedia the words faux pas stem back from the reign of Louis XIV when “dance was so important in the royal courts that to make a false step in any one of the many dances could get you thrown out”. It can also be described in French to mean a loss of balance.
Examples in sentences:
“Tara committed a terrible faux pas at the office party when she was overheard talking tabout her manager’s awful outfit.”
“Drinking less alcohol and watching who is behind you could prevent you committing a faux pas at the next Christmas party!”
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The Free Dictionary http://www.thefreedictionary.com/faux+pas
The Collins English Dictionary & Thesaurus
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