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illustration Bel-Esprit



Part of speech: noun

Origin: French, 17th century


A witty person.

Examples of Bel-Esprit in a sentence

"My uncle Ken was a bel-esprit whose presence livened up every family party."

"Hoping to absorb enough wit to become a bel-esprit, Laura read the collected works of Dorothy Parker and Oscar Wilde."

About Bel-Esprit

“Bel-esprit” comes directly from the French expression which literally means “nice spirit,” but is defined as “fine mind,” or “wit.”

Did you Know?

In the 18th-century, dinner parties could be multi-hour affairs with strict etiquette around conversation, but if one were lucky enough to be seated next to a bel-esprit, then the night was sure to be entertaining. This particular conversationalist was not just clever, but likely had a reputation for witty remarks that every one at the dinner table or party could enjoy and laugh at. A bel-esprit brought such wit, humor, and insight to a conversation that it was considered a privilege — or very good luck — to spend time talking with such a person.

illustration Bel-Esprit

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