Il ne faut pas confondre les faux pas / One mustn’t confuse the faux pas…..

“faux pas”

I noticed this curious little tidbit probably a few months ago, it resurfaced when I was in Florida, and just again today, so I thought I’d share this with you.

  I’m curious if the first people to use “faux pas” in its current sense realized they had two sets of homonyms that end up with the same overarching meaning….. quite witty if they did.  Here’s how it works:

“faux pas”:

“faux”: false
“pas”: step

= false step, misstep
 a social slip-up, blunder

“faut pas”:

shortened from “il ne faut pas” in slang
“faut”: must
“ne….. pas”: not

= [indefinite] “one” must not, “one” shouldn’t
 when used as a noun, a social blunder

  Quite witty, if that was the intention.  Oh words, how I love thee…..

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6 thoughts on “Il ne faut pas confondre les faux pas / One mustn’t confuse the faux pas…..

    • lauramrmak July 20, 2009 / 11:09 pm

      Anytime! Thanks for visiting — hope you’ll come back soon! 🙂

  1. NWC July 30, 2009 / 4:13 pm

    This came up in conversation yesterday with my girlfriend, a native French speaker, who had never realized this before, so I searched “faut pas” “faux pas”, and this was right at the top 🙂 C’est un truc très cool heh?

    • lauramrmak July 31, 2009 / 12:32 am

      Haha well I’m very glad to hear that!! I’m surprised it’s so rare on the net! I really like when I find out these kinds of things 🙂
      Is your girlfriend from France, Quebec, or a different area altogether? I’m from Ontario 🙂
      Thanks for visiting!

  2. NWC July 31, 2009 / 6:38 am

    Yeah these things are really cool. My girlfriend is Belgian, and because of her I live here now too 🙂 She has an interesting take on this coincidence, she’ll probably post here later today

    • lauramrmak August 3, 2009 / 8:33 pm

      That sounds great! Do you like Belgium?
      I’m curious to hear what she thinks about these faux pas 🙂

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