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WordWealth: gaucherie

gau·che·rie \goh-shuh-REE\, n., pl. -ries

1. lack of social grace, sensitivity, or acuteness; awkwardness; crudeness; tactlessness. 2. an act, movement, etc., that is socially graceless, awkward, or tactless.

[1790–1800; < F; see GAUCHE, -ERY] (Random House Webster's Unabridged). Look at Thesaurus

Comparing them as a class with my fellow students in New England and in Europe, I cannot hesitate in saying that nowhere have I met men and women with a broader spirit of helpfulness, with deeper devotion to their life-work, or with more consecrated determination to succeed in the face of bitter difficulties than among Negro college-bred men. They have, to be sure, their proportion of ne'er-do-weels, their pedants and lettered fools, but they have a surprisingly small proportion of them; they have not that culture of manner which we instinctively associate with university men, forgetting that in reality it is the heritage from cultured homes, and that no people a generation removed from slavery can escape a certain unpleasant rawness and gaucherie, despite the best of training. —— W. E. B. Du Bois; 'Of the Training of Black Men'; The Atlantic; Sep 1902


If you find yourself sitting next to an obviously prosperous guest at a dinner party and your host introduces him (it will  be a him) as a "successful barrister", you will be guilty of a gaucherie of the crassest kind if you exclaim: "How  fascinating! If I promise not to call you Rumpole, will you tell  me about your goriest murder trials?" —— Nick  Cohen; 'Don't leave justice to the judges'; New Statesman, Dece13, 1999


No fighter was ever more interesting to know, more intriguing or baffling, than Muhammad Ali. He is an extraordinary amalgam of intelligence and foolishness, wisdom and innocence, grace and gaucherie, charm and histrionic offensiveness. A marvellous natural comedian with timing worthy of Bob Hope, he could appear sharp as a needle one minute ('If I say a mosquito can pull a plough, don't ask how - just hitch it up, man.') and unbelievably ignorant the next (as when he asked solemnly while we were riding in a taxi, 'The Mafia - what's that?'). —— An Observer Classic: 18 January 1970; Requiem for a heavyweight; In the first month of 1970, Hugh McIlvanney wrote brilliantly about his hero, Muhammad Ali, but feared that the brilliance of 'the Greatest' would be purely a phenomenon of the Sixties; Guardian; Jan 12, 2003

Fulham can be such a strange mixture, moments of slickness giving way to gaucherie, especially when the personalities involved are Saha and Boa Morte. Each gave a demonstration, dropping deep to obtain possession, running at the Everton defence and setting himself for a shot that was hoisted hopelessly over the top.
—— Patrick Barclay at Craven Cottage; 'Hayles Double Too Much for Poor Everton'; Telegraph; Dec 08, 2001


Further note:

Gaucherie comes  from  the  French, from gauche, "lefthanded; awkward,"  from Old French, from gauchir, "to turn aside, to swerve, to walk clumsily."


Synonyms: blunder, faux pas, gaffe


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