I'm fiddling around with a piece of prose that my other half once wrote, trying to get it translated to English.
The text is basically an inner monologue. After a burst of (verbal) aggressiveness, the "inner" speaker gradually gets hold of himself/herself, and despite the fairly reasonable content of what has been said, he/she is left with a certain sense of remorse due to the severeness of his/her manners.
At that point he/she says something like:
-A stupid grit is all that's left...
Now, that was just my very first attempt to render the sentence; but I know that grit [courage and resolve; strength of character (Oxford D.)] isn't quite the word I'm looking for. It's just familiar enough to be used without noticeable hesitation.
I asked a reliable elder for a piece of cyber-advice and he recommended foolish bravado.
I objected, saying that "bravado" gives me the impression of a slightly masculine word, whereas I'm looking for something unisex, so to speak. Eventually I got convinced my impression was wrong, but "bravado" still sounds a bit "cowboy" in my (European) ears, probably due to its phonetic resemblance to Rio Bravo and its overall Spanish/Mexican features.
For now, I've changed grit to chutzpah, meaning "extreme self-confidence or audacity" (again, according to Oxford D.).
But whereas grit was a bit too close to courage (which can hardly be a bad thing), chutzpah seems to be at the other end of the spectrum, connoting excessiveness (which is rarely a good thing).
I felt I'd like something more ambiguous. So I eventually stumbled upon this word:
1. The ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage.
2. Aggressive energy; initiative:
3. Skill; know-how.
Macmillan is more concise about it:
energy, confidence, and determination.
It does however tell you that apart from being slang, the word is also old-fashioned.
And I wouldn't want to use outdated language.
The triplet of possible interpretations does, however, serve my intentions perfectly, aggressive energy (2) being a potential downside of an overall courageous character...
Thus comes my question: what would be an accurate modern equivalent of the word moxie, able to connote all three aforementioned aspects of someone's personality?
And I'm not looking for anything offensive, like b@ll$ or whatever. Just a pertinent word one might hear "on the street", with a fair share of potential to fit in this sentence:
A stupid ***** is all that's left.
(kinda muttered in a state of confusion; a stalemate between pride and remorse).