gau·che·rie \goh-shuh-REE\, n., pl.
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
House Webster's Unabridged).
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
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.
Double Too Much for Poor Everton';
Telegraph; Dec 08, 2001
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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