L'esprit de l'escalier

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L'esprit de l'escalier (sometimes just 'esprit de l'escalier') - pronounced '[l]ess-PREE-duh-less-CALI-eh', IPA: /lɛs ˈpriː də lɛs ˌkælie/ is a French phrase, which means 'the wit [or the spirit] of the staircase'; it denotes the clever remark that one wishes one had made in the conversation that one has just left - the image is of the parting guest going down the stairs towards the door.