Posted by ESC on October 19, 2002
In Reply to: Putting your foot in your mouth posted by Bruce Kahl on October 18, 2002
What would be the exact meaning and connotation of this one? My friend says "When
you speak of someone "putting their foot in their mouth", it means that they spoke
thoughtlessly, or made a brash comment without realizing that someone around might
find the statement offensive. It does NOT apply to when someone makes an ordinary
statement and someone else doesn't understand it or takes it the wrong way."
: : But I think it's when you say something without taking account of what the connotation of what your saying might be. Such as when you ask a heaveset woman when her due date is, only to find that she's not pregnant. Clearly there's no misunderstanding there, and she didn't take it the wrong way. The issue is in what you said.
: : Thanks for helping clear this up!
: Asking a heavyset woman when her due date is and then finding out she is not pregnant is a perfect example of putting your foot in your mouth.
I agree. It is commiting a faux pas (FOH pah), literally "a false step; social mis-step, error of taste, manners, etc." From "Le Mot Juste: A Dictionary of Classical and Foreign Words and Phrases" (Vintage Books, New York, December 1991). I couldn't find "put your foot in your mouth" in my references. I found the similar "put your foot in it."