[ bel es-pree ]
/ bɛl ɛsˈpri /
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noun, plural beaux es·prits [boh zes-pree]. /boʊ zɛsˈpri/. French.
a person of great wit or intellect: He found this charming bel esprit, not among his university colleagues, but in the person of a young widow on the outskirts of town.
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Sometimes bel-es·prit .
Origin of bel esprit
First recorded in 1630–40; French: literally, “fine mind, wittiness”
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use bel esprit in a sentence
What we commonly understand in French by "esprit," "bel-esprit," "trait d'esprit," are—ingenious thoughts.A Philosophical Dictionary, Volume 10 (of 10)|Franois-Marie Arouet (AKA Voltaire)
One evening he took me with him to a literary renion, at which every bel-esprit of the capital was to be present.
Madame de Pompadour joked my companion about her 'bel-esprit', but sometimes she reposed confidence in her.The Secret Memoirs of Louis XV./XVI, Complete|Madame du Hausset, an "Unknown English Girl" and the Princess Lamballe
There was the blue-stocking lady, a mature belle and bel-esprit.Life Without and Life Within|Margaret Fuller
Well might the weary courtiers cry out against les galeres du bel esprit.The Women of the French Salons|Amelia Gere Mason
British Dictionary definitions for bel esprit
/ French (bɛl ɛspri) /
noun plural beaux esprits (boz ɛspri)
a witty or clever person
Word Origin for bel esprit
literally: fine wit
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