Definition of jeu d'esprit in English:

jeu d'esprit

nounPlural jeux d'esprit

  • A light-hearted display of wit and cleverness, especially in a work of literature.

    ‘there is a misconception that the works of Agatha Christie are simply popular jeux d'esprit’
    • ‘If one regards it simply as a jeu d'esprit it is all very pleasant, but as a real contribution to the literature of the sky-scraper it has no value.’
    • ‘It is not exactly a jeu d'esprit but it does have a certain 'occasional' character, and cannot really be regarded as a major work by Dummett.’
    quip, witticism, gem, play on words, jest, pun, sally, nice turn of phrase
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Origin

French, literally ‘game of the mind’.

Pronunciation

jeu d'esprit

/ʒəː dɛˈspriː//ʒø dɛspʀi/