A Faux Pas Is a French term which translates to “false step” and means a social blunder leading to embarrassment. A faux pas is essentially a slip in etiquette or conduct, suggesting indiscretion. A faux pas is a social mistake that one makes leading to embarrassment .For instance burping in public. The term faux pas is generally used in a social context to mean an error in behavior. It may be a tactless remark showing an error in etiquette For example, in France it would be considered faux pas if you are overly friendly during a business meeting and ask personal questions. It would arouse suspicions on your motives so the expected behavior is to be polite and courteous during business dealings.
Faux originates from the French Faux pas meaning a “false step” and was first used in the 1670s. The expression has become part of English since quite some time and is no longer considered a foreign term. In French, a faux pas would literally mean a loss of balance physically. The reference may be to the importance assigned to dance in the royal courts of Louis XVI. Any faux pas while performing a dance move could earn displeasure. Words such as impropriety or error can be used synonymously with faux pas. Some terms related to the expression faux pas include slip, gaucherie, gaffe and solecism.
Faux Pas differ from one culture to another and hence something may be a faux pas in one culture while it may be regarded as good manners in another. Business travelers going abroad need to get acquainted with basic social etiquettes of the country they are visiting to avoid making any faux pas. For example in Argentina you would be committing a faux pas if you asked people what they did for a living. It is generally considered rude as their social etiquette demands that you wait for the other person to offer the relevant information. In Cambodia you would be committing a faux pas if you passed something over the person’s head as in Cambodia the head is treated as sacred.
A faux pas is an embarrassing mistake leading to awkwardness in a social situation. But the expression faux pas is often used in connection with the fashion industry when celebrities don’t dress up to the occasion .A faux pas in the fashion world would imply an error in the person’s makeup ,hairstyle, clothing or general appearance. For example a celebrity attending a public function in a gaudy pink ensemble would attract the media attention for her faux pas. Similarly a fashion model donning a disastrous hairdo would be committing a faux pas.