Posted by: episystechpubs | June 21, 2013

Editor’s Corner: 10 More Words with Flair

I know some of you used the terms from yesterday’s list of words meaning “that certain something.” I particularly enjoyed an e-mail from someone who was “departing work with gusto.” As far as gumption, am I the only person who hears that word and immediately pictures some dirty old miner without teeth saying “He’s got gumption”? No? Okay. Here is the second half of yesterday’s list from
[The Other 10] Words for That Certain Something

  • Je ne sais quoi: a quality not easily described or expressed (a French phrase that means literally “I know not what”)
  • Knack: intuitive capacity or knowledge (originally meant “trick”; perhaps from the onomatopoeic word akin to knock)
  • Mettle: vigor, stamina (from an alternate spelling of metal)
  • Moxie: energy, enthusiasm, courage (from the brand name of a soft drink; early on, such beverages were often touted, long before the advent of energy drinks, as providing pep)
  • Panache: flamboyance; originally, a decorative plume of feathers on a helmet (from the Latin term pinnaculum, meaning “small wing,” by way of Italian and French)
  • Pizzazz: glamour, vitality (unknown etymology)
  • Savoir faire: self-assuredness, talent for knowing how to conduct oneself (from the French term savoir-faire, meaning “knowing how to do,” from the Latin words sapere, meaning “know,” and facere, meaning “do”)
  • Savoir vivre: knowledge of appropriate behavior (from the French word savoir-vivre, “knowing how to live,” from the Latin terms sapere, meaning “know,” and vivre, meaning “live”)
  • Spunk: courage, pluck (from the Gaelic word spong, meaning “tinder,” ultimately derived from the Latin term spongia, from which sponge is also derived)
  • Verve: vivacity, energy, enthusiasm (ultimately from the Latin term verbum, meaning “word,” because of the early sense of “flair for speaking or writing”)

Gabby Hayes Had Gumption

Kara Church
Senior Technical Editor

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