pratfall ˈprat-ˌfȯl noun
1. a fall onto your buttocks
2. an embarrassing mistake
The word pratfall has appeared in three articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on May 6 in “Where Have All the Goslings Gone?” by James Gorman:
I thought it would be like the previous spring, when my wife and I often watched what I believe was the same goose pair with a similar brood. One day we saw the whole group leave the shore following the parents, except for one dawdler who was poking at something interesting under a rock. Suddenly the young goose, still fuzzy in its baby feathers, looked up and saw its family paddling away. It made a mad dash for the water and tripped, tumbling head over large, webbed feet in a pratfall made for a funny home video.
I knew it wasn’t a pratfall to the gosling, just a stab of panic and a fall. Still the baby quickly rejoined its family. We giggled. No harm done. You can see why I had high hopes this year.