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    Translation correct?

    contretemps - (unangenehmer) Zwischenfall ?

    Source Language Term



    (unangenehmer) Zwischenfall ?

    LEO currently translates contretemps as "unglücklicher Zufall" which does not seem to match the definition of

    an awkward clash; "he tried to smooth over his contretemps with the policeman"
    (encounter, skirmish, clash, brush) - a minor short-term fight

    Any comments?
    AuthorPatrick14 Nov 05, 21:13
    Ich kann keinen wesentlichen Unterschied zwischen der LEO Übersetzung und derjenigen von Deinem Verweis ausmachen.
    #1AuthorWerner14 Nov 05, 21:48




    #2Authorsirilo14 Nov 05, 22:34




    Context/ examples
    Danke Werner.

    Für mich besteht schon ein deutlicher Unterschied zwischen "unglücklicher Zufall" und "a minor short-term fight" . Man versuche auch mal, den Beispielsatz "he tried to smooth over his contretemps with the policeman" unter Zuhilfenahme von "unglücklicher Zufall" zu übersetzen.
    #3AuthorPatrick14 Nov 05, 23:56
    Context/ examples
    contretemps - Zwischenfall; (= unexpected hitch also) kleines Missgeschick

    contretemps - an unexpected and unfortunate occurrence: 'the hotel had to deal with more than one contretemps before the end of the night.'
    • a minor dispute or disagreement: 'she had occasional contretemps with her staff.'

    web examples from G**gle News:
    • an infamous spat. Miandad threatened to crown Lillee with his bat, before umpire Tony Crafter ended their contretemps (UK)
    • The collision between Sinn Féin and the Bush administration looks, at first glance, like a contretemps involving Adams and the State Department (Ireland)
    • Corrigan's spat with Toll follows an earlier contretemps with Macquarie Bank and Sydney Airports chief Max Moore-Wilton. (Australia)
    • There was a slight contretemps when an anti-Camilla protester showed up - "Go home!" shouted the crowd (South Africa)
    • This is Pulitzer Prize winner Goodwin's first book since a 2002 plagiarism contretemps regarding a biography of the Kennedys smudged her reputation.
    • the Libby contretemps is a burdensome distraction at precisely the wrong time.
    • Cuba's attempts to donate sugar for projects in other countries create a contretemps.
    I think Patrick is on the right track and the LEO entry should probably be expanded. The sense of 'accident' (mishap, Zufall, Malheur, Missgeschick), though listed in dictionaries, is unfamiliar to me and, as he says, doesn't really work for the small fight with the policeman.

    In my experience, the most common meaning of the word is indeed a particular kind of unfortunate occurrence, namely, more like 'incident' (awkward situation, flap, uproar, imbroglio, stir, fracas, ruckus, Zwischenfall, Ärger, Aufregung, Aufsehen) or indeed 'spat,' whether verbal or physical (set-to, tussle, scrap, clash, dispute, quarrel, BE row; Auseinandersetzung, Streit, Vorfall, Gerangel, Krach, Knatsch, Zusammenstoß).

    This range of senses may be, strictly speaking, a misuse of the word, or at least a change from its older meaning. But it seems widespread, and German speakers who encounter it in English texts would surely appreciate finding translations in LEO.
    #4Authorhm -- us15 Nov 05, 07:42
    ich würde hm zustimmen und für seinen ausführlichen Eintrag danken.
    #5AuthorPatrick08 Dec 05, 18:18
    Sounds very newspaper-ish to me, never heard this in spoken language.

    "bad coincidence" is good enough, eh? :)
    #6Authorpp09 Dec 05, 07:54
    ... or "nasty incident".

    NB: I know at least one English school book for German learners which translates "nasty" to "ekelhaft" or "abscheuerregend." When I see vomit on the street, I think that is disgusting, not nasty.
    It is much more synonym to unpleasant, and also used for people who are extremely impolite. "Are you're trying to be nasty or what?"
    #7Authorpp09 Dec 05, 08:06

    Die Anregungen aus diesem Faden wurden im LEO-Wörterbuch noch nicht umgesetzt. Vermutlich reichen die Belege nicht. Ich fühle mich aber nicht kompetent genug, solche Belege zusammenzustellen, denn bis eben war mir das Wort contretemps völlig unbekannt.

    #8Authorharambee (91833) 24 Mar 23, 10:11

    ... Vermutlich reichen die Belege nicht ... -- die Rubrik "Übersetzung korrekt" ist auch nicht der beste Ort für Neuvorschläge ...


    ... ansonsten ist mir "contretemps" eigentlich nur aus dem Französischen bekannt Siehe Wörterbuch: [fr-de] contretemps ...

    Ich schaue mir das die Tage mal noch im Englischen an ...

    #9Authorno me bré (700807)  24 Mar 23, 10:29
    Context/ examples

    small argument or unlucky event, often happening in public and causing social embarrassment:

    There was a slight contretemps between Richard and some guy at the bar.

    Have you got over your little contretemps with the neighbour yet, or are you still not speaking?

    ​an unpleasant event or an embarrassing occasion when people disagree

    • They have been ignoring me since our last contretemps.

    an argument that is not very serious

    little contretemps over a parking space

    1: an inopportune or embarrassing occurrence or situation


    an argument or disagreement – often used humorously

    contretemps is a small disagreement that is rather embarrassing. [literary]

    He was briefly arrested in Rome after a contretemps with Italian police. [+ with]

     a. An inopportune occurrence; an untoward accident; an unexpected mishap or hitch.

    1809   M. Edgeworth Manœuvring i, in Tales Fashionable Life III. 1  I am more grieved than I can a cruel contre-temps.

    1842   T. Martin My Namesake in Fraser's Mag. Dec.  I am used to these little contretems.

    1872   J. L. Sanford Estimates Eng. Kings 397  He [Charles II] regarded such contretemps as inevitable.

    b. A disagreement or argument; a dispute.

    1961   Providence (Rhode Island) Jrnl. 4 July 24/3  There also came a brief contretemps with the sound mixers who made the mistake of being overheard during a quiet moment.

    1977   Washington Post 27 Dec. b7/3  There is his ongoing relationship with Beverly Switzler..and a contretemps with another duck named Donald.

    1983   M. Edwardes Back from Brink ii. 26  The Zambian President had had a particularly unpleasant contretemps with the Rhodesians, and was about to put up tariff barriers across the Zambesi.

    1984   New Yorker 30 Jan. 69/2  Mondale and Glenn got into a new contretemps, this one over acid rain and environmental policy in general.

    Circonstance, événement qui va contre un projet, des dispositions prises, etc. ; complication : Un fâcheux contretemps a retardé notre départ.

    "There was a bit of a contretemps between myself and Nigel, which usually happens between players really and the manager separates them. There were no fisticuffs."

    ...a spirit encapsulated by a contretemps towards the end of the first half when, after Abdoulaye Doucouré fouled Fabinho to get play stopped so Richarlison could receive treatment

    Raquel Welch had a considerable flair for comedy. Her role in The Three Musketeers (1973) as Constance, the accident-prone wife of Spike Milligan’s lecherous elderly landlord, and lover of Michael York’s D’Artagnan, consisted of one contretemps after another – from spilling ink over the French queen’s letter to getting her foot stuck in a bucket while in bed with her beau.

    On Friday July 21, Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell had a contretemps over clothing.

    There is some kind of contretemps at the counter. Voices are raised, together with objections.

    Jewell, at least, has not had to contend with a club chairman resigning after an alleged contretemps with a BBC reporter.

    Author recalls dinner party contretemps with Charles over death threats to Satanic Verses author


    Comment to come.

    #10Authorpapousek (343122) 24 Mar 23, 12:50


    Context/ examples

    Dictionary: [fr-de] contretemps

    le contretemps -- der Zwischenfall  Pl.: die Zwischenfälle   - i. S. v.widriger Umstand



    Désolé d’être en retard : j’ai eu un contretemps. Sorry I’m late: I was held up.

    à contretemps (Music) out of time(figurative) at an inopportune moment


    A 'contretemps' in French means a mishap, a hitch, a Zwischenfall.

    In English, contretemps primarily means a small and not very serious argument or a dispute, and it is generally used humorously. Like hm--us in #4, the definition 'an unfortunate event' (the 'unglückliche Zufall' of the current Leo entry) was unknown to me. However, there's no denying that it's in the dictionaries!

    Summary of the dictionary evidence from #10 here:

    • Macmillan, Longman and Collins only list the 'small argument' definition;
    • Cambridge, Oxford Learners, MW and the OED list both definitions: small argument and embarrassing/unlucky event

    But note that ALL the sample sentences in all the online dictionaries (except the OED's sentences under the separate 'inopportune occurrence' entry -- which all date back to the 1800s!) refer to an argument.

    All the Guardian results I found for contretemps referred to a small and insignificant argument, with the exception of this one (a reader letter) which clearly refers to a series of unfortunate and embarrassing incidents:

    Raquel Welch had a considerable flair for comedy. Her role in The Three Musketeers (1973) as Constance, the accident-prone wife of Spike Milligan’s lecherous elderly landlord (...) consisted of one contretemps after another – from spilling ink over the French queen’s letter to getting her foot stuck in a bucket while in bed with her beau.

    #11Authorpapousek (343122) 24 Mar 23, 12:58

    In summary: the original entry in Leo should probably stay. That is to say, an 'unglücklicher Zufall' is a valid description of the English word contretemps, according to the dictionaries.

    However, we need a new entry for the additional definition - and, we might argue, primary definition - of 'small and insignificant argument'. This is mostly verbal (once it moves away from the purely verbal it becomes a bit greater and more significant -- and you are less likely to use a humorous word like 'contretemps'!) but not exclusively.

    German speakers, what would you suggest on the German side? And then these posts can be copied and pasted into a New Entry thread.

    #12Authorpapousek (343122) 24 Mar 23, 13:02

    You know what, let's just move to the New Entry thread so we don't have to repeat all this:

    related discussion: contretemps - der Wortwechsel

    #13Authorpapousek (343122)  24 Mar 23, 13:10

    The current LEO entry shouldn't stay, since "unglücklicher Zufall" doesn't describe an embarrassing confrontation, but any unfortunate coincidence or event that was not foreseeable (e.g. a mistiming). It should be corrected to read "unangenehmer Zwischenfall".

    #14AuthorRominara (1294573)  24 Mar 23, 17:16

    I'm going to move that observation to the New Entry thread, so we don't have two discussions going on at once.

    #15Authorpapousek (343122) 24 Mar 23, 17:47
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