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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
But after the show, I felt the inevitable esprit de l'escalier and kept kicking myself for not making the retorts that came to me in droves after the fact.
How sad the French phrase l'esprit de l'escalier, denoting brilliant utterances tried out on the stairs after the party is over.