[ kon-truh-tahn; French kawntruh-tahn ]
/ ˈkɒn trəˌtɑ̃; French kɔ̃trəˈtɑ̃ /

noun, plural con·tre·temps [kon-truh-tahnz; French kawntruh-tahn] /ˈkɒn trəˌtɑ̃z; French kɔ̃trəˈtɑ̃/.

an inopportune occurrence; an embarrassing mischance: He caused a minor contretemps by knocking over his drink.

Origin of contretemps

1675–85; < French, equivalent to contre- counter- + temps time (< Latin tempus); perhaps alteration (by folk etymology) of Middle French contrestant, present participle of contrester to oppose; see contrast

Example sentences from the Web for contretemps

British Dictionary definitions for contretemps

/ (ˈkɒntrəˌtɑːn, French kɔ̃trətɑ̃) /

noun plural -temps

an awkward or difficult situation or mishap
fencing a feint made with the purpose of producing a counterthrust from one's opponent
a small disagreement that is rather embarrassing

Word Origin for contretemps

C17: from French, from contre against + temps time, from Latin tempus