je ne sais quoi

je ne sais quoi

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

literally, I don't know what Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To je ne sais quoi
World English Dictionary
je ne sais quoi (ʒənsekwa)
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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
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
Cite This Source
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.
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature