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A faux pas ( // plural: faux pas //) is a violation of accepted social norms (for example, standard customs or etiquette rules). Faux pas is used in most areas of the world. The term comes originally from French, and literally means "misstep" or "false step".
This expression is usually used in social and diplomatic contexts. The term has been in use in English for some time and is no longer italicised when written. In French, it is employed literally to describe a physical loss of balance as well as figuratively, in which case the meaning is roughly the same as in English. Other familiar synonyms include gaffe and bourde (bourde, unlike faux pas, can designate any type of mistake).
"Faux pas" also sounds similar to "Faut pas", which is French for "Must not", which coincidentally has similar meaning.
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