The Closing Word: Contretemps

The Closing Word: ContretempsThis week we continue our vocabulary-building series, “The Closing Word.” Each week we provide a new word to help build your vocabulary and show you an example of how to use it.

This week’s closing word:


Pronounced: (CON-tre-tahn)

an awkward clash

From “The word contretempis French – contre means “against” and temps means “time.” A mishap, perhaps caused by bad timing, is one kind of contretemps. Another is an argument or conflict, especially an awkward one. A contretemps can result from a misunderstanding or miscommunication. It’s also a term for a blunder in both ballet and fencing.”

“It was quite a contretemps when the buyers bad-mouthed the listing for the entire showing, not realizing the sellers could hear them out on the back deck.”


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