Contretemps



[kon-truh-tahn; French kawntruh-tahn] /ˈkɒn trəˌtɑ̃; French kɔ̃trəˈtɑ̃/

noun, plural contretemps
[kon-truh-tahnz; French kawntruh-tahn] /ˈkɒn trəˌtɑ̃z; French kɔ̃trəˈtɑ̃/ (Show IPA)
1.
an inopportune occurrence; an embarrassing mischance:
He caused a minor contretemps by knocking over his drink.
/ˈkɒntrəˌtɑːn; French kɔ̃trətɑ̃/
noun (pl) -temps
1.
an awkward or difficult situation or mishap
2.
(fencing) a feint made with the purpose of producing a counterthrust from one’s opponent
3.
a small disagreement that is rather embarrassing
n.

1680s, “a blunder in fencing,” from French contre-temps “motion out of time, unfortunate accident, bad times;” from Latin contra + tempus (see temporal). As a ballet term, from 1706; as “an unfortunate accident,” 1802; as “a dispute,” from 1961.

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