From A to Z, Twenty-Six Funny, Weird, Vivid French Expressions




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Literally: to fall in the apples

Meaning: to faint

Best equivalent: ?

Yet another French expression that takes roots in the Middle Ages. The earliest version was Tomber dans les pâmes, from the verb Se pâmer, which still means to faint. Pâmes slowly morphed to pommes (apples in French) in this expression. Se pâmer is now more often used in a figurative way of speech.

Se pâmer for someone or something means to fall for someone or something extremely great. It implies a strong feeling of admiration close to fainting.

When the expression Tomber dans les Pommes is still very current, se pâmer is old fashioned and carries a note of irony.


See you tomorrow for the letter S, part of the A to Z challenge!


  1. My mom always said things could make her “faint dead away” – I think I’d rather fall into the apples.

  2. Ah, so se pâmer is equivalent to our “swoon.” As in, “That actor is so handsome, he makes me swoon.”

  3. I fell out of an apple tree once, Evelyne. Does that count? 🙂 And a couple of years ago I went out to gather apples from an old orchard. The ground was covered with huge mounds of bear scat, and I almost fainted. But that might have been messy. –Curt

    • Of course, you would have one or two stories to add to a French expression:)
      I stopped counting the number of times I fell, from a tree or not. When I was a kid I played outside more than inside and I loved it. It didn’t come without a few falls. Mostly from my bike, in fact. I loved speed back then. Since I grew up in Normandy, the land of apples, I’ve also seen my share of apple trees. Gorgeous when they are in full bloom. But I only spotted bear scat when I moved to California. They tend to avoid Normandy and Paris. Thank you, Curt for another fun visit.

  4. Not sure I’d want to faint into the apples but I suppose there are worse places to land. Weekends In Maine

    • They are definitely worse places. Apples being hard that would hurt, but at least they are edible. Thank you for stopping by as we are both reaching the final line.

  5. Amazing how language changes. Falling into apples may be a bit more pleasant than right onto the floor 😉

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