je ne sais quoi

je ne sais quoi

[zhuhnuh se kwa]
French.
an indefinable, elusive quality, especially a pleasing one: She has a certain je ne sais quoi that charms everybody.

Origin:
literally, I don't know what

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Collins
World English Dictionary
je ne sais quoi (ʒənsekwa)
 
n
an indefinable quality, esp of personality
 
[literally: I don't know what]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

je ne sais quoi
1656, "an inexpressible something," from Fr., lit. "I do not know what."
"[T]hey are troubled with the je-ne-scay-quoy, that faign themselves sick out of niceness but know not where their own grief lies, or what ayls them." [Thomas Blount, "Glossographia," 1656]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
je ne sais quoi [(zhuh nuh say kwah)]

That little something; a quality that eludes description: “The Mona Lisa's smile has a certain je ne sais quoi.” From French, meaning “I don't know what.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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