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savoir-faire

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

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

Synonyms

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adaptability, adroitness, diplomacy, discernment, skill, ability.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for savoir faire

savoir-faire

noun
  1. the ability to do the right thing in any situation
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Word Origin

French, literally: a knowing how to do
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for savoir faire

savoir-faire

n.

"instinctive knowledge of the right course of action in any circumstance," 1815, from French, literally "to know (how) to do," from savoir "to know" (from Latin sapere; see sapient) + faire (from Latin facere; see factitious). French also has savoir-vivre "ability in good society; knowledge of customs in the world."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

savoir faire in Culture

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.”

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.