Saturday, July 26, 2008

Esprit d'escalier

Since the mid-'90s I've subscribed to a fantastic daily e-mail called A.Word.A.Day (AWAD). The, Anu Garg, provides a new word each day, sometimes following a theme for a week, other times providing guest hosts for a day or a week. The results are often educational, entertaining and sometimes even uplifting.

Today's word fit me to a T, so I thought I'd share, and provide you some links that might distract you from all the work I KNOW you're supposed to be doing instead of reading our blog. Plus, the site will give you something to do while you await our first post from the road! :)

esprit d'escalier (e-SPREE des-kal-i-YE) noun, also esprit de l'escalier

Thinking of a witty remark too late; hindsight wit or afterwit. Also such a remark.

[From French esprit de l'escalier, from esprit (wit) + escalier (stairs).]

I found this word COMFORTING! I mean, who confesses to lagging in their witty remarks? I don't feel so alone now! :) I can't tell you how often I think of a pithy comeback too late to contribute, but it took me a few years to just let them go. It's pretty darned embarrassing to spit out the sly comeback after a quickly moving conversation turns to another topic entirely!

AWAD is a free service, though donations are accepted. The site also includes an anagram maker that's fun to play with.


  1. Sometimes maybe it's actually a blessing that we weren't able to think of that witty comeback if it means putting the other person down(even though they may deserve it). The movie "You've got mail" with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks went over this situation exactly....Meg Ryan's character was lamenting how she could never think of that perfect "slamming, put you in your place come back" at the time and moment that it was required and then was finally able to do so when Tom Hanks' character showed up for the blind date and she just didn't even fathom that he could possibly be the person she had been having meaningful on-line conversations with so she let him have it because he was also the Big Chain Bookstore owner who was trying to put her little bookstore out of business. Later that evening after connecting on-line with her on-line buddy,(who un-beknownest to her is also the Big Chain Bookstore Owner,)she recounts the incident and laments how even though she had said that perfect witty put-you-your-place remark at EXACTLY the right moment, it left her feeling empty and regrettful.

  2. Previous comment about "You've got Mail" was written by "Bill Clinton AKA Pointsaljim"


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