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gaffe (noun) an embarrassing mistake made in public or in a social situation.
An embarrassing mistake made in public or in a social situation is a gaffe. You make a gaffe if in a social situation or in public you make a mistake which embarrasses you and the others concerned. Your addressing a married woman as miss, and an unmarried woman as Mrs., in public, is an example of a gaffe. Asking an unmarried person of their children, and asking a married person when they are going to get married is another example of a gaffe.
- That was a real gaffe that John made - introducing Derry Denton's wife as Mrs. Buffon, just because John had happened to see her in the company of Mr. Buffon.
- Gaffes are not uncommon to Nelson, but this one was the worst of them. While presenting those on the dais to the gathering, he got mixed up and introduced Mr. Smith as Mr. John and Mr. John as Mr. Smith to the embarrassment of all.