French sayings : Le Savoir Vivre

In this post we are looking at the saying

“Savoir vivre”

Savoir vivre (m) noun;  sa·voir-vi·vre (sav-wahr-vee-vruh).

Definition: Knowledge of the world and the ways or usages of polite society, familiarity with the customs of good society, politessecourtesy 

Origin: 1745–55;  French:  literally, knowing how to live & the ability to live life well and with intelligent enjoyment, meeting every situation with poise, good manners, and elegance

The French concept of savoir vivre is closely linked to the cultural traits of politeness, etiquette and manners. More broadly, it encompasses living the good life and knowing how to get the most from life.

The most simple definition of savoir vivre is that it means “knowledge of life.” The two root words are from the French. Savoir means “know” and vivre means “life.” The more modern, dictionary definition now refers to how to properly act in polite society.

Association: Savoir vivre ties in with two other French concepts and phrases: Savior faire, which means knowing how to act, or how to actively live with savoir vivre, and joie de vivre, which is the joy of life that living life to the fullest, that living with savoir vivre generates.

Philosophy: French concepts of society and philosophy are intrinsically connected with the ideas of savoir vivre, savoir faire and joie de vivre. The knowledge and joy of life are not simply excitement and happiness, but rather an ideal to be pursued in one’s lifetime.

*Someone who does not show appropriate/inadequate savoir vivre is considered someone who “Qui manque de savoir-vivre”.Everyday life in the French society & French culture is built upon a certain “savoir vivre”. It is this which makes France “French” and the French, well… French.

Some basic examples in everyday life of “savoir vivre” are as follows:

If you go to a “soiree”, (a cheese and wine party or similar), simple “savoir vivre” etiquette as follows will show your understanding of French culture:

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