je ne sais quoi

\ zhə-nə-ˌsā-ˈkwä How to pronounce je ne sais quoi (audio) \

Definition of je ne sais quoi

: something (such as an appealing quality) that cannot be adequately described or expressed a young actress who has a certain je ne sais quoi

Examples of je ne sais quoi in a Sentence

Although the sculpture had flaws, it also had a certain je ne sais quoi that made it very appealing.
Recent Examples on the Web So what’s the je ne sais quoi that celebrity streamers seem to have? Alexandra Ossola, Quartz, "What do the best online streamers have in common?," 28 Mar. 2021 The candles are targeted at beer lovers who just miss those certain je ne sais quoi aromas of their favorite watering holes. Marc Bona, cleveland, "Miller Lite releasing ‘Bar Smells’ candles," 24 Mar. 2021 These are the shades that have that certain je ne sais quoi. Kaitlyn Yarborough, Southern Living, "Big News: OPI's 10 Most Popular Nail Colors Are Now Available As Press-On Gel Manicures," 24 Mar. 2021 That's like the je ne sais quoi, the sweet spot of keeping us in this flux that didn't align with building generational wealth. Sydney Gore, Vogue, "How Hood Century Is Building a Modern Black History Preservation Society," 17 Mar. 2021 The ability to capture some of the je ne sais quoi of an icon like Agnelli, not to mention the attitude of an era, is almost as intoxicating as the fragrance itself. Garrett Munce, Town & Country, "How To Smell Like Picasso," 19 Feb. 2021 Rich people reality shows have a sort of je ne sais quoi. Zoe Guy, Marie Claire, "Netflix's 'Bling Empire' Season 2: Everything We Know," 22 Jan. 2021 Try transforming it into an oil for use on dry hair to create lived-in, je ne sais quoi texture, or use it as a pomade to shape brows. Zoe Ruffner, Vogue, "The 17 Best Beauty Products of 2020, According to Fashion’s Top Hairstylists, Makeup Artists, and More," 7 Dec. 2020 What's left feels like a sort of droll curiosity; a wisp of eat-the-rich fantasy and Gallic farce, lost in its own je ne sais quoi. Leah Greenblatt,, "Michelle Pfeiffer and Lucas Hedges can't quite make the surreal comedy French Exit fly: Review," 11 Oct. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'je ne sais quoi.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of je ne sais quoi

circa 1656, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for je ne sais quoi

French, literally, I know not what

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Time Traveler for je ne sais quoi

Time Traveler

The first known use of je ne sais quoi was circa 1656

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Last Updated

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Je ne sais quoi.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for je ne sais quoi

je ne sais quoi


English Language Learners Definition of je ne sais quoi

sometimes humorous : a pleasant quality that is hard to describe

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Nglish: Translation of je ne sais quoi for Spanish Speakers

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