Coup de foudre

Un coup de foudre
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Electrifying French Expression

Meaningbolt of lightning, love at first sight
Literallybolt of lightning
PronunciationFrench sound files [coo d(eu) foo dr(eu)]
IPA  [ku də fudʁe]

Usage notes: The French expression le coup de foudre has a literal and a figurative meaning, though the latter is more common – especially among English speakers.

Literally, un coup de foudre is a “bolt of lightning” or “thunderbolt.”

J’ai vu un coup de foudre tout à l’heure. I saw a bolt of lightning a moment ago.
Attention, il peut y avoir des coups de foudre. Be careful, there might be lightning.

Figuratively, un coup de foudre indicates “love at first sight,” which I think makes perfect sense, as that is quite an electrifying feeling. You can choose between être and avoir to express slightly different nuances.

Être le coup de foudre – To be love at first sight

J’ai aperçu mon collègue, et ça a été le coup de foudre.  I got a glimpse of my colleague, and it was love at first sight.
Arriver dans un nouveau pays est toujours un coup de foudre. Arriving in a new country is always love at first sight.

Avoir le coup de foudre – To fall in love at first sight

J’ai eu le coup de foudre pour mon collègue. I fell in love with my colleague at first sight.
En arrivant dans un nouveau pays, j’ai toujours le coup de foudre. When I arrive in a new country, it’s always love at first sight.

Somewhat synonymous

1. To fall in love (with)

2. To become infatuated (with)

  • s’amouracher (de)
  • (informal) se toquer (de)
  • (formal) s’enticher (de)

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Coup de foudre

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