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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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A Word A Day — sangfroid

Good aternoon Netizens...

February 05, 2013

Words of the Day

  • sangfroid
  • audio pronunciation


: 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


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").


Spokesman-Review readers blog about news and issues in Spokane written by Dave Laird.