l'esprit de l'escalier

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Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from French l'esprit de l'escalier.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /lɛˈspɹiː də lɛˈskaljeɪ/


l'esprit de l'escalier (uncountable)

  1. A conversational remark or rejoinder that only occurs to someone after the opportunity to make it has passed.
    • 1971, Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic, Folio Society 2012, p. 317:
      ‘I knew not then,’ he confessed, ‘but now I think…’ It is not necessary to follow Goad along the path taken by his esprit d'escalier to see how sheer intellectual pleasure was the driving-force behind such efforts.




French Wikipedia has an article on:
Wikipedia fr

Alternative forms[edit]


After Diderot in Paradoxe sur le Comédien (completed in 1778, published in 1830)[1]: “l’homme sensible, comme moi, tout entier à ce qu’on lui objecte, perd la tête et ne se retrouve qu’au bas de l’escalier”[2] (‘a sensitive man like me, overwhelmed by the argument levelled against him, loses his head – and doesn't get it back again till he's at the bottom of the stairs’).


  • IPA(key): /lɛ.spʁid.lɛ.sca.lje/


l'esprit de l'escalier m (uncountable)

  1. l'esprit de l'escalier, staircase wit
    • 1905, Maurice Souriau, Bernardin de Saint-Pierre d'après ses manuscrits, page 52.
      Est-ce de l'esprit de l'escalier, mais exaspéré par la rancune?
      (please add an English translation of this quote)


See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, Oxford University Press, 2004, ISBN 0-19-860720-2
  2. ^ Paradoxe sur le comédien, 1773, remanié en 1778; Diderot II, Classiques Larousse 1934, p. 56