je ne sais quoi

\zhə-nə-ˌsā-ˈkwä \

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

Perhaps that’s the je ne sais quoi that’s got heads turning. Kate Branch, Vogue, "Meet Adeline, the Funk Musician Who Will Stoke Your Love of Glitter Eyes and Big, Big Hair," 12 Oct. 2018 More importantly, what gives them that je ne sais quoi is the differences that set them apart from that Brigitte Bardot stereotype. Leah Prinzivalli, Glamour, "10 Women Who Defy the 'French-Girl Beauty' Trope," 14 July 2018 Alameda resident Charlotte Boedec has a certain je ne sais quoi — as does her 2-month-old Hayes Valley boutique Gazette (334 Gough St.). Gail Goldberg,, "Hayes Valley boutique Gazette says bonjour to French labels," 5 July 2018 For the next several weeks, lean into your signature je ne sais quoi. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Sign's July 2018 Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 29 June 2018 Paris set the perfect stage for a couple rich with je ne sais quoi. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "This is How to Dress For Your Wedding After Party," 7 Dec. 2017 The designer has a loyal group of fans for her crisp clothes oozing with bohemian je ne sais quoi. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "L’Oréal Collaborates With Ultimate French Tastemaker," 14 June 2018 As usual, Seydoux brings that je ne sais quoi to every look. Chrissy Rutherford, Harper's BAZAAR, "3 Ways To Wear a Suit on the French Riviera," 8 May 2018 The smokiness balances out the shock of color by adding a sultriness and a bit of that Parisian je ne sais quoi. Sophia Panych, Allure, "Paris Fashion Week Fall 2018: The Best Hair and Makeup Looks of the Season," 7 Mar. 2018

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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Jena glass

je ne sais quoi



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Statistics for je ne sais quoi

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for je ne sais quoi

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

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More Definitions for je ne sais quoi

je ne sais quoi


English Language Learners Definition of je ne sais quoi

: a pleasant quality that is hard to describe

Comments on je ne sais quoi

What made you want to look up je ne sais quoi? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an inexhaustible supply or amount

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