savoir faire


[sav-wahr-fair; French sa-vwar-fer]
knowledge of just what to do in any situation; tact.

1805–15; < French: literally, knowing how to do

adaptability, adroitness, diplomacy, discernment, skill, ability. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
savoir-faire (ˈsævwɑːˈfɛə)
the ability to do the right thing in any situation
[French, literally: a knowing how to do]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

savoir faire
1815, from Fr., lit. "to know (how) to do," from savoir "to know" (from L. sapere; see sapient) + faire (from L. facere; see factitious). Instinctive knowledge of the right course of action in any circumstance. French also has savoir vivre
"ability in good society; knowledge of customs in the world."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary
savoir faire [(sav-wahr fair)]

Ease and dexterity in social and practical affairs: “Peter is a friendly person, but he lacks the savoir faire required for a successful career in the foreign service.” From French, meaning “to know how to act.”

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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