Definition of savoir faire in US English:

savoir faire

noun

  • The ability to act or speak appropriately in social situations.

    • ‘The trusty actor does much to make Alceste bearable with precise diction, polished movements, and general savoir faire.’
    • ‘Louisiana, specifically New Orleans, is a swampy mix of sultry southern enchantment and French savoir faire.’
    • ‘Marshall spent 12 massively frustrating months using every ounce of military professionalism and political savoir faire he could muster to achieve some sort of modus vivendi between the two competing factions, ultimately to no avail.’
    • ‘Written off by some as a pantheistic eco-nut, Hill demonstrated an impressive savoir faire for waging an effective media campaign.’
    • ‘Imagine the rugged masculinity of Clark Gable combined with the savoir faire of Cary Grant and you get a sense of his urbane thief about town Daniel Ocean.’
    • ‘To give it a touch of savoir faire, his logo was an elegant-looking man in a top hat.’
    • ‘Perhaps we fellow painters best understand the enormous risks she confronts at every turn, and quietly applaud her savoir faire.’
    • ‘Middle class people can claim neither the heroic struggles of the proletariat nor the cultural hauteur and effortless savoir faire of the aristocracy.’
    • ‘They didn't have the presence or savoir faire that Mr Carlyle brought to the part.’
    • ‘The latter shouldn't be a problem for his successor, who is famous for his savoir faire.’
    • ‘Henry Knight is a man of letters, older, richer, and endowed with the savoir faire which Stephen lacks.’
    • ‘Her estimation of the revolutionary importance of her ideas was perhaps excessive, but Joyce admired her ambition and her savoir faire.’
    • ‘Nicholson dives into the project with gusto, marshaling the administrative savoir faire that he and his men have amassed through years of maintaining the British Empire.’
    • ‘The workplace is stainless-steel spic-n-span, but the savoir faire is strictly old school.’
    social skill, social grace, social graces, urbanity, urbaneness, suaveness, suavity, finesse, sophistication, poise, aplomb, grace, adroitness, accomplishment, polish, style, smoothness, tact, tactfulness, diplomacy, soft skills, discretion, delicacy, sensitivity
    View synonyms

Origin

Early 19th century: French, literally ‘know how to do’.

Pronunciation

savoir faire

/ˌsævwɑr ˈfɛr//ˌsavwär ˈfer/