the mot juste

the mot juste

The precise word you want to use; the exactly right word. The phrase is French for "right word." When I'm writing, there's no better feeling than easily thinking of the mot juste.
See also: juste, mot
References in periodicals archive ?
The method of Green Hills, most evident in its animal descriptions, owes a lot to "the discipline of Flaubert" (27), the "one that we believed in" (71)--especially Flaubert's obsession with finding the mot juste (the right word) and achieving authorial impersonality.
For Flaubert, the mot juste is an ethical as well as aesthetic ideal, a tonic for the "mots banals" of commerce, generalization and prejudice ((Euvres 1.184).
The mot juste and impersonality pull readers in opposite directions.
Afoot is indeed the mot juste. Perhaps the evening walkers of Awali are all part of a slow motion commercial for Dignitas, the Swiss company that will assist you to end your days prematurely.
Find the Mot Juste In the sultry gloom of a summer's night fireflies flick their lights on and off like children discovering electricity.
Completely autonomous, independent from any transcendent "dictatorship," the aesthetic of the mot juste that Flaubert admirably described in a famous letter to George Sand is simply one (the most demanding, perhaps) of the possible ways out of this condition of the sorrow of form: The preoccupation with exterior beauty for which you reproach me is my own method.
"Loyalty" is the mot juste in Israel these days: After the controversial bill requiring non-Jewish immigrants (and then all immigrants) to declare loyalty to a Jewish and democratic state was approved by the cabinet earlier this month, a new bill was brought before the Knesset last week that would require that all tourist guides leading tours of Jerusalem be themselves Israeli citizens who have "institutional loyalty" to Israel.
And "spell" is the mot juste for Donaghy: his poems are musical utterances (almost incantations at times) meant to ward off dread and the pain of loss.
He could unerringly find what Bertie Wooster,when consulting Jeeves, referred to as the mot juste. Give the Bard an extra hundred and he would have knocked off something along the lines of ``To be or not to be...'' Come to think of it, he did, didn't he?
There is another possible hidden meaning in the Latin root of the word sex, which, makes a good case for set:, not gender, as the mot juste. Sex also means six in Latin, which brings us to numerology, another Greek inheritance.
It has done so, though sober is hardly the mot juste for this ebulliently erudite analysis, with its sharp wit and deadpan ironies (along with bursts of feeling, introduced sometimes by an idiosyncratic locution like `ah, but', as in `ah, but spared life, not spared death')
R I trudged into The Nation's offices in New York the other day (somehow "trudged" is the mot juste) and young Ernesto, who keeps an eye on the building, handed me a newspaper with a sly look.
After 50 years of book production ("writing" is clearly not the mot juste) and 120 million copies shifted, "Wilbur Smith" is not so much an author as a brand.
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