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Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Love this word. 1) It isn't pronounced as it it is spelled. 2) I love english words "borrowed" from other languages (I suppose they are all from other languages, but some seem more recent). 3) It just sounds good, especially if you put on a strong French accent. 4) It's a nice sounding way to describe a stuff-up.

contretemps \KAHN-truh-tahn\, noun; plural contretemps \-tahnz\:

An inopportune or embarrassing situation or event; a hitch.

Mrs. Post was the center of a notable contretemps when she spilled a spoonful of berries at a dinner of the Gourmet Society here in 1938. -- "Emily Post Is Dead Here at 86; Writer was Arbiter of Etiquette", New York Times, September 27, 1960

He looked worried, distressed, more distressed than one should look in the face of a slight contretemps. -- Anita Brookner, Undue Influence

Nathan was a fiercely ambitious and competitive man, as quick to take offenceas to give it in his business dealings, and it is not difficult to imagine him responding impetuously to such a contretemps. -- Niall Ferguson, The House of Rothschild


Sekhmet said...

Great stuff Dave - now all I need to do is find an excuse to keep dropping that word in converstaion, I love it lol

Tesso said...

Yay - the words are back!

Susan said...

I have a lot of those situations. I'll have to try out that work tonight.

R2B said...

Hope you are feeling better Dave,
as Tesso says Yay-the words are back...
con.. tru.. tan
con.. tru.. tan