What's in a Word | All Blogs


A false step

By Debra Dobbins

Make no mistake about it; context clues help us understand words. (See Aug. 4 entry.)

In today’s Born Loser we can get a sense of what the French phrase faux pas means, because both men use a general synonym, mistake, in their dialogue. (Using a synonym is one way that a writer provides a context clue.)

More precisely, Webster’s says the word means, “a social blunder; error in etiquette; tactless act or remark.”

The phrase has been in our language since 1676, according to the online version of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. It is pronounced “foe paw” and literally means false step.

When I worked in marketing communications, my firm had a major, somewhat hotheaded client who always pronounced the phrase “foo paw.” I gritted my teeth but said nothing. Correcting him, I feared, would be a false step in advancing my career.

Now, however, for the record, Mr. Ex-Client, wherever you are, it’s "FOE paw."


 

COMMENTS

Please Login or Register to leave a comment.

f4423 musclegaintruths 324545




Recent Posts
LOUDY-SIMPSON MIGRANT TRAP
By Nic.Korte
Sunday, May 14, 2017

TIME FOR A CHAT (A DOUBLE ENTENDRE FOR EARTH DAY)
By Nic.Korte
Sunday, April 23, 2017

WISDOM’S WISDOM OR HUMAN WISDOM?
By Nic.Korte
Friday, April 7, 2017

Tech Education a Must for Tech-Starved Mesa County
By David Goe
Friday, March 31, 2017

APRIL FOOLS’
By Nic.Korte
Friday, March 24, 2017


TOP JOBS




THE DAILY SENTINEL
734 S. Seventh St.
Grand Junction, CO 81501
970-242-5050; M-F 8:00 - 5:00
Editions
Subscribe to print edition
E-edition
Advertisers
Advertiser Tearsheet
Information

© 2017 Grand Junction Media, Inc.
By using this site you agree to the Visitor Agreement and the Privacy Policy