Le mot juste.
luh moe ZHEWst
The right word.
Or really, the word that is precisely right for a given moment or situation. There’s no exact translation for this concept in English, but that will work.
Gustave Flaubert was the writer who popularized this notion. It was his belief that there is really only one right way to say a thing, and he spent enormous amounts of time searching for that one word or expression that perfectly suited what he wanted to say–with all its implications, shades of meaning, and allusions. Synonyms weren’t good enough for him.
In my next post, I’ll give you a great example of Flaubert’s adherence to this tenet!