Friday, April 23, 2010

More About The Wit of the Staircase

It turns out the French phrase for thinking of something clever too late to use it is 'L’esprit de l’escalier or esprit d'escalier (staircase wit)'.

A classic example of this in popular culture is the Seinfeld episode where George wracks his brains thinking up a riposte to a co-worker's 'the ocean called, they're running out of shrimp', and all he can come up with is 'oh yeah? Well the jerk store called, and they're running out of YOU'.

If the French sounds too pompous for you, or, as in my case, you're not sure how to pronounce it, Wikipedia provides German and Yiddish options:
The German word Treppenwitz and the Yiddish word trepverter are used to express the same idea.

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