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

Origin of savoir-faire

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

Other words for savoir-faire

Words Nearby savoir-faire Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use savoir-faire in a sentence

  • In later years his savoir faire enabled him to laugh at faith, but it stayed quietly with him all the same.

  • Eugene had talent and determination, but no experience, no savoir faire, no circle of friends and acquaintances.

    The "Genius" | Theodore Dreiser
  • Rhett, though doubtless bitterly disappointed, bore himself with the savoir faire of a great gentleman.

    The Day of the Confederacy | Nathaniel W. Stephenson
  • He even wondered a little at Nan's savoir-faire, and felt a vague sense of disappointment mingling with his relief.

    Name and Fame | Adeline Sergeant
  • Mr. Whitney, with his savoir faire, was considered one of the best men to send on a quasi political mission.

    A Little Girl of Long Ago | Amanda Millie Douglas

British Dictionary definitions for savoir-faire


/ (ˈsævwɑːˈfɛə) /

  1. the ability to do the right thing in any situation

Origin of savoir-faire

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

Cultural definitions for savoir faire

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.”

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.