Here is my entry for the Up Your Bottom! story contest
Once when working on an ad campaign, I was in a meeting with the makers of detergent for hand washable wools. We were discussing the shoot, and the company officials said they needed to bring in a knitter - magliaia - to create a beautiful garment to show off the fabric.
I had recently arrived in Italy, and I'm afraid my Italian wasn't so good.
I understood that they wanted to bring in a maiala - the Italian word for pig -- but, since we were clearly discussing a woman, the word is also used crudely to mean a sleeze .
No faux-pas there, until I naturally opened my big mouth and asked if that's what they meant. The company was not only startled, but totally insulted -- and I thought I would lose my job!
Needless to say, to this day I still cannot hear the difference in the two words...