Definition: an unforeseen event that disrupts the normal course of things; an inopportune occurrence
From Latin for “counter time.” Though I’m not sure how that specifically applies.
Why I Looked It Up
In an article about Antonio Brown’s infamous quitting of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the middle of an NFL football game in January 2021:
In the latest contretemps surrounding his departure from his fourth employer in four seasons…
It says “the latest” because Brown had a long history of conflict with the various teams on which he has played. To not qualify this with “latest” would invite the reader to wonder which contretemps the article was talking about.
Added on May 8, 2023
In an article about the Fax News defamation trial:
“That’s a no-win argument for me,” said Wolff – and for a long time this afternoon, it looked like this entertaining contretemps would be the most dramatic thing to happen inside Judge Davis’ courtroom today.