Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Esprit d'Escalier

By way of Mike Flynn, I came across this list of 25 handy words that English doesn't have. A few aren't technically words (perhaps we should say 'terms' instead). There are also some oddities; Schadenfreude is a word in English, although still showing signs of being a borrowed word. I'm also surprised sodade, from Portuguese is not on the list. I was pleased, however, that esprit d'escalier was on the list, since I find it one of the handiest phrases, being very much a victim of it. L'esprit d'escalier is what you have when someone says something to you at the top of the staircase, and you think of an awesome response to it only after you've gone done the stairs, so that you would have to go up the stairs again to give it, awkwardly, thus ruining the awesomeness of the response -- or any situation similar to that.


  1. Mike Flynn10:57 PM

    The German term IIRC is Treffenwitz.

  2. MrsDarwin7:17 AM

    That's why we blog, of course.

    I first encountered this term in an acting textbook, which went on to say that one of the joys of theater is having all your witty comebacks scripted out for you.

  3. Leo Mollica10:43 PM

    There was a pretty nifty book I got for my birthday as a kid entitled *In Other Words*, which basically collected examples like these for around 100 pages.


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