l'esprit de l'escalier

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l'esprit de l'escalier

A French phrase meaning "the wit of the staircase," a perfect witty remark, retort, or rejoinder that occurs to one after the fact or too late to be used. (Also written as "l'esprit d'escalier.") I was on the bus home long after being tongue-lashed by my boss when I thought of the perfect things to say that would take him down a few pegs. Ah, l'esprit de l'escalier!
See also: DE
References in periodicals archive ?
Maybe in a world where Oprah Winfrey has also flirted with the idea of being Commander-in-Chief of the world's largest military and Kanye West is blathering about making a run too, in a world where the US President is a TV star better known for his Twitter tantrums and alleged corruption than his grasp of policy or law, Kid Rock is just apt l'esprit d'escalier to what is an increasingly hysterical era of world politics.
It's called Esprit d'Escalier - the "wit of the staircase".
tells him: "You Americans have more nice dumb people than any other country." This echo of prewar Teutonic condescension did indeed leave Ozment dumbfounded, but he gives the reader the benefit of his esprit d'escalier: "58,000,000 Americans can claim full or partial German descent." Later he recalls watching student protestors at Tubingen in 1968 daubing the university with "USA," the "S" scrawled to resemble a swastika.