All These Little French and American Words…


Welcome to the A to Z Challenge!

One word for the letter V

*one French word with a slight different meaning whether it’s used in France or in the USA




The French word voilà literally means « See there » or « There it is. »

For example, a French mother could tell her child, “Voilà ton sac avec tes affaires de gym,” or “There is your bag with your sport gear.”

There is no meaning of triumphant revelation when the French say, « Voilà. »

In fact, I think there is sometimes a nuance of disappointment when I say, « Et voilà. »

For example, if I’m inattentive and miss my exit on the highway, I could say, “et voilà,” to acknowledge my mistake and imply that that I’m responsible since I was not paying attention.



Aux Etats Unis voilà traduit la notion de révélation généralement avec une note triomphante. Voilà est utilisé pour attirer l’attention ou pour suggérer quelque chose qui apparaitrait comme par magie.

Le mot peut être par exemple utilisé dans des shows de cuisine quand la liste des ingrédients nécessaires à la réalisation d’un plat est énumérée jusqu’à l’annonce du plat.

Boudoirs, mascarpone, café, marsala, and voilà un tiramisu!



 A long hike, starting at midnight, under the full moon, arrival betwen five and six a.m. at the top of Half Dome in Yosemite, and voilà the view, right before sunrise. 

For a better view, click on the photo.


Do you know of a French or English word starting with the letter V that has a different meaning whether it’s used in France or the USA?

Connaissez-vous un mot français ou anglais commençant par la lettre V qui a un sens différent selon qu’il soit utilisé en France ou aux Etats Unis?

See you tomorrow with the letter W



  1. VIP !

  2. Voila! I love this word because it always indicates a wonderful surprise or event.

  3. I always thought of it as something triumphant ‘et voila’!

  4. I think saying “Voila” in English was originally sort of a joke for people who took French in school … and somehow, it went from a student joke to general population “saying.” Because I remember when hardly anyone said it and virtually no one knew what it meant. Funny how quickly things become part of a language 🙂

    • Looks like it to me, too, Marilyn. The tone of voice implies the joke. A few French words and expressions are used this way in the US. “Comme ci comme ça” is another one.
      Thank you for keeping up with me. Almost finished!

  5. I work with a guy who really does say “Viola” just because he thinks he’s being funny. So…are “eye rolls” and “facepalms” the same in French and English? 😉

  6. Eye rolls is easily translated by ‘roulement des yeux’ but ‘facepalm’ it’s a trickier one. I know the gesture but honestly I’m not sure how we say it in French. I don’t think we have the English equivalent. I’ll look into it and will let you know. See you later.

  7. randommusings29 says:

    Great post. It’s funny how the word has been changed slightly when used in English to show triumph or excitement

    • Isn’t it? It’s the same with ‘c’est la vie’ and most French words that somewhat take on a more exaggerated tone. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  8. Im not sure why the slant except that we (Yanks) dont even speak the same language as the English. How would we appreciate the nuances of French?
    I think in order to study a language you need to live the language.
    Im blogging from Fill the cracks and Moondustwriter’s Blog. Happy last week of A to Zing!

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