Part of speech:
(Countable nouns, like “bottle,” “piece,” and “decision,” are words for things that can be broken into exact units. You talk about “a bottle,” “three pieces,” and “many decisions.”
Likewise, talk about one jeu d'esprit or multiple jeux d'esprit.)
A jeu d'esprit is something said that's both funny and smart. In other words, a jeu d'esprit is a witty comment.
A jeu d'esprit can also be a smart, funny piece of literature (or any smart, funny piece of writing).
("Jeu d'esprit" literally means "play of spirit.")
The plural is "jeux d'esprit," and it's pronounced the same as the singular.
How to use it:
Call a phrase, a comment, a joke, or a piece of writing a jeu d'esprit when it seems witty to you: lighthearted, funny, and smart. We'll often stick an adjective before this word to talk about "a lively jeu d'esprit," "a satirical jeu d'esprit," "a brilliant jeu d'esprit," "a musical jeu d'esprit," "a simple little jeu d'esprit," and so on.
I've given up on ridiculous movies that take Roald Dahl's jeux d'esprit (like Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and turn them into weird, over-the-top spectacles.
I had a giggle at this jeu d'esprit written across a fellow chorus member's shirt: "May your life one day be as extraordinary as it seems on Facebook."
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "jeu d'esprit" means when you can explain it without saying “smart" or “amusing."
Think of a clever phrase, joke, or observation that made you laugh, and fill in the blanks: "I had to appreciate (Person's) jeu d'esprit:' _____.'"
Example: "I had to appreciate Winston Churchill's jeu d'esprit when I read it: 'A good speech should be like a woman's skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.'"
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month's game content is protected by a copyright, so I can't reprint the trivia questions here--but check out the thoughtful and thorough reference book that I got them from: Last Words of Notable People!
A Point Well Made:
Amanda Palmer: “You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.”
1. The opposite of JEU D'ESPRIT is
2. Douglas Adams, the late king of the jeu d'esprit, continues to _____ readers.
Answers are below.
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Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Answers to review questions:
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