gaffe

A gaffe is a mistake that embarrasses you in front of others. If you run into a friend out with her grey-haired father, and you blurt out, "Oh, hi, you must be Tara's grandfather!" then you've made a gaffe.

Gaffe rhymes with laugh, and you'll be lucky if that's how people respond to your social blunder. A gaffe seems to occur most often when you literally don't know your audience — you make a joke about the mayor; you didn't know you were talking to his sister. That's definitely a gaffe. And who knew your hosts come from a culture that takes offense if you refuse to try every dish?

Definitions of gaffe
1

n a socially awkward or tactless act

Synonyms:
faux pas, gaucherie, slip, solecism
Type of:
bloomer, blooper, blunder, boo-boo, botch, bungle, flub, foul-up, pratfall
an embarrassing mistake

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.