You know that situation when someone has said something mean or rude about you, or made a sarcastic joke on your expense, and you can say nothing witty back? But then, when you are sitting in your car or in front of the TV or wherever, you come up with the smartest comeback? Well, the French have a term for this : l'esprit de l'escalier. Directly translated it means the spirit of the stairs, or the wit of the stairs, and relates to Diderot, who said that he could only think of something clever when he was at the bottom of the stairs again ( in his time, the nobles would receive guests on the first floor).
Apparently there is a similar term in German, Treppenwitz ( Stair-joke). However, it is used more as relating to events that seem to contradict their own context. This is what Wikipedia says, but I have no idea what that is supposed to mean or what examples one could mention. What events seem to contradict their own context? Perhaps a situation similar to Frank Miller's comic book ( and later film version) 300, where 300 Spartans fight off the threat posed by the gigantic armies of Xerxes, would be suitable as a Treppenwitz?
Here a comeback from a man I would have loved to drink tea with :
During Winston Churchill's early career, he was at a meeting and another member was giving a long-winded speech. Churchill began to close his eyes and fall asleep. At the sight of this, the member became visibly angry and shouted: “Mr. Churchill, must you fall asleep while I’m speaking?” Instead of making attempts at an apology or a cover-up, Churchill simply replied:
“No, it’s purely voluntary.”
You can find more clever comebacks here.