Weekly Word: Savoir-faire

Savoir-faire is “tact” or “knowledge of just what to do in any situation”. It comes from French (duh!), from the words savoir, meaning “to know how”, and faire, “to do”.

Writers just love to use expressions from other languages; it makes their writing sound more worldly. So it’s not surprising that savoir-faire shows up in some news articles, like here:

"The mustachioed Mason set the bar for cinema savoir-faire in the films 'It Happened One Night' and 'Gone With the Wind'..." -- referring to Clark Gable, from an LA Times article.

Other phrases I found were “poker-faced savoir faire”, “savoir faire in fragrance”, and “the irreverent savoir faire of James Bond”. Just one of the many French phrases that are fun to throw around. Some other French words I’ve learned include: recherche, ennui, bricolage, and flaneur.