Definition of savoir faire in English:

savoir faire

See synonyms for savoir faire

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  • The ability to act or speak appropriately in social situations.

    ‘this is a gracious occasion, so try to behave with a bit of savoir faire’
    • ‘They didn't have the presence or savoir faire that Mr Carlyle brought to the part.’
    • ‘To give it a touch of savoir faire, his logo was an elegant-looking man in a top hat.’
    • ‘The trusty actor does much to make Alceste bearable with precise diction, polished movements, and general savoir faire.’
    • ‘Marshall spent 12 massively frustrating months using every ounce of military professionalism and political savoir faire he could muster to achieve some sort of modus vivendi between the two competing factions, ultimately to no avail.’
    • ‘Nicholson dives into the project with gusto, marshaling the administrative savoir faire that he and his men have amassed through years of maintaining the British Empire.’
    • ‘Middle class people can claim neither the heroic struggles of the proletariat nor the cultural hauteur and effortless savoir faire of the aristocracy.’
    • ‘Her estimation of the revolutionary importance of her ideas was perhaps excessive, but Joyce admired her ambition and her savoir faire.’
    • ‘Perhaps we fellow painters best understand the enormous risks she confronts at every turn, and quietly applaud her savoir faire.’
    • ‘Louisiana, specifically New Orleans, is a swampy mix of sultry southern enchantment and French savoir faire.’
    • ‘The latter shouldn't be a problem for his successor, who is famous for his savoir faire.’
    • ‘Written off by some as a pantheistic eco-nut, Hill demonstrated an impressive savoir faire for waging an effective media campaign.’
    • ‘Imagine the rugged masculinity of Clark Gable combined with the savoir faire of Cary Grant and you get a sense of his urbane thief about town Daniel Ocean.’
    • ‘The workplace is stainless-steel spic-n-span, but the savoir faire is strictly old school.’
    • ‘Henry Knight is a man of letters, older, richer, and endowed with the savoir faire which Stephen lacks.’
    social skill, social grace, social graces, urbanity, urbaneness, suaveness, suavity, finesse, sophistication, poise, aplomb, grace, adroitness, accomplishment, polish, style, smoothness, tact, tactfulness, diplomacy, soft skills, discretion, delicacy, sensitivity
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savoir faire

/ˌsavwär ˈfer/ /ˌsævwɑr ˈfɛr/


Late 18th century French, literally ‘know how to do’.