A pratfall is a mistake that is particularly embarrassing, like going to a job interview with stains on your shirt. It can also be a silly goof done on purpose to make people laugh, like slipping on a banana peel.

A pratfall originally referred to a fall on your butt, which was often done by comic actors for laughs. From there, it came to mean all sorts of unplanned screw-ups. A restaurant caught serving horsemeat has committed a pratfall. A politician’s inappropriate joke is a verbal pratfall. A football player who runs the wrong way and scores for the other team has done a pratfall. Oops!

Definitions of pratfall
  1. noun
    a fall onto your buttocks
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    type of:
    fall, spill, tumble
    a sudden drop from an upright position
  2. noun
    an embarrassing mistake
    synonyms: bloomer, blooper, blunder, boo-boo, botch, bungle, flub, foul-up
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    the momentary juggling of a batted or thrown baseball
    a blunder that makes you look ridiculous; used in the phrase `make a spectacle of' yourself
    a serious and ludicrous blunder
    fumble, muff
    (sports) dropping the ball
    a blunder (especially an actor's forgetting the lines)
    faux pas, gaffe, gaucherie, slip, solecism
    a socially awkward or tactless act
    a glaring blunder
    a conspicuous mistake whose effects seem to reverberate
    misstep, stumble, trip, trip-up
    an unintentional but embarrassing blunder
    type of:
    error, fault, mistake
    a wrong action attributable to bad judgment or ignorance or inattention
Word Family

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