Il a commis un impair.
ee lah kuh-mee uh naa-PAIR. Click below to hear this.
He made a gaffe.
Or a blunder. It’s more than a simple mistake, because it’s embarrassing both to him and to others around him. Like asking someone how his wife is, when the scandalous divorce is all over the news. That’s the sort of thing that casts a shocked, albeit momentary, silence over the whole room.
We already talked about faire une gaffe, which means the same thing, at this link and this link. Here’s another way to say it: Il a commis un impair. It doesn’t have to do with impairment, even though one source of such blunders is being impaired by too much alcohol.
Un nombre impair is an odd number. It’s also something that doesn’t fit, that clashes with behavior norms, like an indiscretion. So when we say Il a commis un impair, we are saying that he said or did something that stuck out like a sore thumb. It didn’t match the “civilized” behavior that was expected of him.
It’s not that he’s the one who ran off with other guy’s wife. He merely said something that displayed his obliviousness or his insensitivity. There’s hope for him; he may mend his ways and pay better attention to his surroundings, and think before he speaks. In the meantime, people will think him odd because of the impair he has committed.
Alternate link to audio file: il-a-commis-un-impair