10 Better Ways To Say “Tone-deaf” (Synonyms)

“Tone-deaf” can refer to someone’s inability to understand or practice music. However, in slang, it also means that someone is acting in a way that might offend people. This article will look into some good synonyms for using “tone-deaf” as a slang phrase.

Better Ways To Say Tone-deaf (Synonyms)

The preferred words are “insensitive,” “faux pas,” and “tactless.” You can use these to show that something someone has said was awkward or offensive. They may not have thought about what they said before saying it, but if it led to offending some people, it becomes tone-deaf.


“Insensitive” is a great way of showing that someone is tone-deaf in a situation. If you are insensitive, it means you do not sense other people’s feelings. You will often say things that will make other people feel bad without realizing it.

Generally, insensitive people say cruel things deliberately. They might choose to do so to offend others, or they might simply just never learn that what they’ve said is rude (unless they’re called out on it).

The definition of “insensitive,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “not feeling or showing sympathy for other people’s feelings, or refusing to give importance to something.”

  • That was a very insensitive thing you just said. I hope you will go and apologize to them before the bridges are burned forever.
  • Do you have to be so insensitive all the time? I feel like you don’t care at all about the people around you, and that’s not okay.
  • I can tell that was quite an insensitive comment from me. I just want to offer my sincerest apologies to you now before moving forward.

Faux Pas

“Faux pas” is a slightly more innocent synonym. It relates to someone saying something that is offensive or impolite in a social situation. However, you can often apologize for a faux pas, and people will realize that it was a simple slip of the tongue rather than a malicious insult.

The definition of “faux pas,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “words or behavior that are a social mistake or not polite.”

  • That was clearly a faux pas, and I’m sure he didn’t mean to say it in that way. Can’t you find any way to forgive him for that?
  • I said something that was a bit of a faux pas, and I’m not sure that family will ever welcome me back into their house. I feel so bad.
  • Faux pas or not, I don’t think you’re the kind of person we need around here. You’re incredibly rude to your fellow men and women.


“Tactless” is a good way of showing that someone “lacks tact.” “Tact” refers to being able to say things in a careful and caring way in difficult situations. (without upsetting anyone). Being tactless shows the opposite of that, meaning you are not careful with what you say.

The definition of “tactless,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “not careful about saying or doing something that could upset someone.”

  • That was potentially the most tactless thing I’ve ever heard come out of someone’s mouth. You should be ashamed of yourself.
  • I didn’t mean to be so tactless. I realize now that what I said was offensive, and I wish I could take it back! I’m so sorry.
  • Why are you being so tactless to them? They’ve been nothing but nice to you, and I don’t understand why you think your behavior is okay.


“Obtuse” is a great synonym that shows that someone is slow in understanding what they might have said. If they said something offensive without realizing it, it means that they have been obtuse.

The definition of “obtuse,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “stupid and slow to understand, or unwilling to try to understand.”

  • You’re clearly being obtuse right now. Why do you have to come out with these things without thinking about them first?
  • She’s one of the most obtuse people I’ve ever met. She literally never thinks before she speaks, and she annoys everyone for it.
  • I’m not trying to be obtuse, but I clearly said something that I wasn’t supposed to. Do you think you can forgive me for it?


“Gaffe” is an informal word referring to someone making a slip with something they have said. It is usually an impolite thing to say (often offending one or multiple people). Generally, gaffes aren’t meant maliciously, and they can be remedied with an apology.

The definition of “gaffe,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “a remark or action that is a social mistake and not considered polite.”

  • That’s on me! I made a real gaffe, and I have no idea why I said that! I hope you’ll find it in your heart to let that one slide.
  • That was quite the gaffe, man! I hope nobody else heard you because that could definitely be construed as something terrible.
  • I heard that! Whether it was a gaffe or not is irrelevant. The simple fact is that you upset some people with what you said. Apologize.


“Gauche” is an interesting word that doesn’t get used often. It works well here because it relates to behaving in a way that offends others. However, in context, it only relates to younger people that might not even realize what they’ve said is rude or impolite.

The definition of “gauche,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “behaving in a way that is offensive to other people, esp. because of not knowing what is correct or not caring about the feelings of others.”

  • You were acting very gauche toward all of the people at your party. I don’t know how you’ve managed to keep any of your friends.
  • Stop being so gauche. It’s not an attractive look, and you’re just going to keep driving these people away from you over time.
  • She’s being quite gauche, and I don’t know what I need to say to her to get her to change her ways. I don’t think there’s much hope.


“Unfeeling” often means that someone is unable to connect with their own feelings. This usually relates to a mental issue, meaning that someone can’t understand how to feel in the same way as other people.

The definition of “unfeeling,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “not feeling sympathy for other people’s suffering.”

  • You have this unfeeling attitude about you that makes you undesirable. I don’t think I’ve known anyone to be as rude as you.
  • You come across as very unfeeling, and you really need to work on that. A little sympathy toward these people will go a very long way.
  • I’m quite unfeeling at the best of times. It’s a character flaw that I know I need to work on. I’m really sorry if you think I’m toxic because of it.


“Inconsiderate” is a great synonym because it means you do not “consider” other people’s feelings. You will often say things (deliberately or not) that will upset people. Even if you notice after the fact, you’ve still said the thing that’s caused someone to take offense.

The definition of “inconsiderate,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “not thinking or worrying about other people or their feelings.”

  • Please stop being so inconsiderate for once in your life. Start to think about how you might be upsetting the others.
  • I’m not trying to be inconsiderate, but I really don’t understand why they’ve had to come over here to discuss this with you.
  • You’re inconsiderate, and that needs to change. Why did nobody ever teach you to behave yourself in front of strangers?


“Thoughtless” means that someone didn’t think about what they said before saying it. It uses the “-less” suffix to show that someone is lacking thought in the things they say.

It’s possible to realize what you said after the fact, but this will rarely take away from the original sting of the words you used.

The definition of “thoughtless,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “not considering how your actions or words may upset someone.”

  • That was a truly thoughtless thing to say. I’m very disappointed in you, and I hope you go over and apologize right away.
  • I’m sorry, that was thoughtless of me. For a moment, I forgot where I was. I won’t say anything like that again. I promise.
  • She came out with an incredibly thoughtless comment about my mother. I could tell she didn’t mean harm, but the damage was done.


Another good “-less” word is “heartless.” This time, we use the suffix to show that someone has a “lack of heart.” It often means that somebody does not care what other people think, and they usually say offensive things deliberately to upset others.

Heartless people don’t tend to have that sudden realization that they said something cruel. Instead, they already know they’ve said it, and they do not care to take it back.

The definition of “heartless,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “cruel and not worrying about other people.”

  • You’re so heartless toward my family! I don’t ever want to see you here again! Good bye!
  • She isn’t always that heartless, but she can be a bit mean. I’m sorry if she managed to offend you with what she said.
  • You’re heartless, and I hope you get what’s coming to you! How could you have said something so cruel without caring about it?

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