Definition of bel esprit in English:

bel esprit


  • A witty person.

    • ‘Locke's critique of inequality, slavery, and absolute monarchy were soon the talk of the Paris salons - the artistic and social gatherings held in the drawing rooms of prominent matrons and attended by the beaux esprits of the day.’
    • ‘But how shall the droning world get on if all its beaux esprits reculcitrate upon its approved forms & accepted institutions & quit them all in order to be single-minded?’
    • ‘It is in his house that the Academy of Caen meets; an Academy that can but be made up of an elite of beaux esprits, because one cannot deny that Caen is one of the most illustrious cities in France in this respect.’
    • ‘I will--for I love a jest as well as any bel esprit of 'em all--da!’


French, literally ‘fine mind’.


bel esprit

/bɛl ɛspʀi//ˌbɛl ɛˈspriː/