from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A fine genius, or man of wit.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • A fine genius or man of wit.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a witty or clever person with a fine mind


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • If by chance the wife of a receiver-general of finances was to have this chapter read at her toilette by the bel-esprit of the house, she would have a strange contempt for the Romans of the three first centuries, and would not allow a Manlius, Curius, or Fabius to enter her antechamber, should he come on foot, and not have wherewithal to take his part at play.

    A Philosophical Dictionary

  • “And that father of hers, with his doubtful past and his cruelties, and the bel-esprit her mother, with her doubtful reputation.”


  • He is our best number here, a bel-esprit and an original, but especially a man of soul, which is after all the chief thing.

    The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Volume 12

  • Madame de Pompadour joked my companion about her 'bel-esprit', but sometimes she reposed confidence in her.

    Court Memoirs of France Series — Complete

  • He was a statesman, a bel-esprit, a virtuoso, and a connoisseur.

    A Yacht Voyage to Norway, Denmark, and Sweden 2nd edition

  • Moreover, he was a bel-esprit, writing epilogues and prologues, and was at one time the observed of all observers.

    The Letter-Bag of Lady Elizabeth Spencer-Stanhope — Volume 1

  • The author desires to entertain as much as to teach, the thinker is also a bel-esprit, the jurisconsult has a touch of the coxcomb, and a perfumed breath from the temple of Venus has penetrated the tribunal of Minos.

    Amiel's Journal

  • She has a clear complexion, is young, tall; her manners are doucereuses, for, besides being a beauty, she has pretensions, I understand, to bel-esprit.

    Robert Orange Being a Continuation of the History of Robert Orange

  • "And that father of hers, with his doubtful past and his cruelties, and the bel-esprit her mother, with her doubtful reputation."

    Voskresenie. English

  • He declared that to Weymouth he could not have the honour of attending her: if her ladyship thought the claims and feelings of her protégées of greater consequence than his, if she held herself more bound by the promises she had given to Mr. Seebright, Miss Kew, or any of her bel-esprit friends, than by those with which she had honoured his aunt, he could not presume to dispute her pleasure, or further to press Lady B. 's request; he could only lament -- and submit.

    Tales and Novels — Volume 07


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