: self-possession or imperturbability especially under strain
The lecturer's sangfroid never faltered, even in the face of some tough questions from the audience.
"Daniel Craig portrays a vulnerability far removed from the glib sangfroid of his celluloid predecessors and has retired to an exotic bolt-hole after he is assumed to have died during a botched operation." - From a movie review by Des O' Neill in the Irish Times, January 2, 2013
Did You Know?
If you're a lizard, "cold-blooded" means your body temperature is strongly influenced by your environment. If you're an English-speaking human, it means you are callous and unfeeling. If you're a French speaker, it means that you're calm, cool, and collected in stressful situations. By the mid-1700s, English speakers had already been using "cold-blooded" for more than a century, but they must have liked the more positive spin the French put on having "cold blood" because they borrowed the French "sang-froid" (literally, "cold blood") for someone who is imperturbable under strain. The French term, by the way, developed from the Latin words "sanguis" ("blood") and "frigidus" ("cold").
Word Family Quiz
What relative of "sangfroid" can mean "confident or optimistic"? The answer is ...