En deux temps, trois mouvements

En deux temps, trois mouvements
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Informal French Expression

Meaning in double time, very quickly
Literally in two beats, three movements
Register informal
Pronunciation French sound file [a(n) deu ta(n) trwah moov(eu) ma(n)]
IPA   [ɑ̃ dø tɑ̃ tʀwa muv mɑ̃]

Usage notes: The French expression en deux temps, trois mouvements comes from music: temps refers to "beats" and mouvements indicates "motions" (though there’s an additional musical meaning of "tempo"). So a person creating three motions in just two beats would obviously be moving very quickly.

Par exemple…

En deux temps, trois mouvements il a désarmé le voleur.   He disarmed the thief in the blink of an eye.


There are many ways to express this in English:

  • before you know it
  • in a jiffy
  • in double time
  • in no time
  • in the blink of an eye
  • like lightning
  • quick as a wink
  • before you can say "Jack Robinson"
  • in two shakes of a lamb’s tail

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