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A faux pas (pronounced /ˌfoʊˈpɑː/, plural: faux pas /ˌfoʊˈpɑː(z)/) is a violation of accepted social norms (for example, standard customs or etiquette rules).[1] Faux pas vary widely from culture to culture, and what is considered good manners in one culture can be considered a faux pas in another. The term comes originally from French, and literally means "false step".[2]

This expression is usually used in social and diplomatic contexts. The term has been in use in English for some time and is no longer italicized when written. In French, it is employed literally to describe a physical loss of balance as well as figuratively, in which case the meaning is roughly the same as in English. Other familiar synonyms include gaffe and bourde (bourde, unlike faux pas, can designate any type of mistake).[3]

Common expression: "That's a major fashion faux pas!"

See also


  1. ^ faux pas - Definition from Longman English Dictionary Online
  2. ^ Faux pas - Definition and More from the Merriam-Webster DictionaryFaux Paux can also be used but means the same thing as faux pas
  3. ^ Faux Pas by Maurice Blanchot (translated by Charlotte Mandell), Stanford University Press, 2001, ISBN 0804729352, pg. xi (translators note).

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