A gaffe is a verbal mistake, usually made in a social environment. The mistake may come from saying something that is true, but inappropriate. It may also be an erroneous attempt to reveal a truth.
Aso draws criticism for gaffe on elderly
Prime Minister Taro Aso earned the wrath of the main opposition party over the weekend for saying people aged 65 and older have no way of showing talent other than being put to work.
"People aged 65 and older are well and capable of working," Aso said in a speech Saturday in Yokohama. "Please bear in mind that these people are not talented in anything but work."
Yukio Hatoyama, president of Minshuto (Democratic Party of Japan), pounced on the comment.
Hatoyama, giving a speech in Kashiwara, Osaka Prefecture, said: "My mother started burying her nose in books trying to learn Hangul in hopes of meeting South Korean actors after she turned 85. To say that the elderly only show talent if they work is absolute nonsense.
"There are various ways of leading (a productive) life," Hatoyama said, apparently in a snide reference to a similar gaffe by Junichiro Koizumi when he was prime minister.
(The Asahi Shimbun. July 27, 2009.)
Michelle Obama made a political gaffe, implying to the audience she had not been proud of America until her African-American husband had ascended to be a front-running candidate for president.
(Campaign Happenings; Russia-Georgia Situation. Fox Special Report. 2008.)
They focused on the twin plot lines that had been hyped in advance -- would Gore be too mean? would Bush commit a gaffe? -- and adjudicated the " winner " accordingly.
(Journal; The Bland Leading the Bland. New York Times. 2000.)