Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An unforeseen event that disrupts the normal course of things; an inopportune occurrence.
  • noun An argument or dispute.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun An unexpected and untoward event; an embarrassing conjuncture; a “hitch.”
  • noun In music, same as syncopation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun An unexpected and untoward accident; something inopportune or embarrassing; a hitch.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun An unforeseen, inopportune, or embarrassing event; a hitch
  • noun fencing An ill-timed pass.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun an awkward clash

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[French : contre-, against (from Latin contrā-; see contra–) + temps, time (from Latin tempus).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French

Examples

  • The practical political effect of the Clinton contretemps is simple: Meek, already struggling badly for any traction in the race (polling suggests that his support runs in the high teens) looks hapless and hopeless at a time when voters want the exact opposite.

    The Fix's Worst Week in Washington

  • Associated Press News analyst Juan Williams All these sentiments strike me as eminently reasonable, but my own view of the contretemps is slightly different.

    The Real Case for Defunding NPR

  • While the Clinton contretemps is absolutely fascinating -- particularly to veteran Clinton watchers like us -- it ultimately will have little effect on the race.

    RGA drops $6.5 million in quartet of governors races

  • I’ve been trying to puzzle through what to say about the Bush-Putin contretemps over US deployment of missile defense systems in central Europe.

    Matthew Yglesias » Russia and the Missile Shield

  • But by now it's clear to everyone that there was no great PR strategy behind taking the artist / label contretemps public, and that the album's fortunes have been affected in the collateral damage. about what she calls the "supposed feud," insisting that she and her team remain a "tightly knit family" and saying, "A lot has been made in the press about my relationship with Clive.

    Entertainment Weekly's PopWatch

  • Jack Bradley himself has been unavailable for comment, but bank spokesperson Wayne Taylor does concede that the contretemps is a no-win situation for everyone.

    How To Get a Business Loan

  • Jack Bradley himself has been unavailable for comment, but bank spokesperson Wayne Taylor does concede that the contretemps is a no-win situation for everyone.

    How To Get a Business Loan

  • Jack Bradley himself has been unavailable for comment, but bank spokesperson Wayne Taylor does concede that the contretemps is a no-win situation for everyone.

    How To Get a Business Loan

  • Jack Bradley himself has been unavailable for comment, but bank spokesperson Wayne Taylor does concede that the contretemps is a no-win situation for everyone.

    How To Get a Business Loan

  • The French word "contretemps" means, among other things, "a note played against the beat".

    contretemps - French Word-A-Day

Comments

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  • "An unforeseen event that disrupts the normal course of things; an inopportune occurrence." AHD

    May 7, 2008

  • As today's Word of the Day on dictionary.com, suggested pronunciation is \KAHN-truh-tahn\.

    I'd rather eat rocks.

    March 31, 2009

  • An inopportune or embarrassing situation or event; a hitch.

    April 1, 2009