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French Expression

Meaning guess what, get this, can you imagine, if you can believe it, believe it or not
Literally imagine
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Pronunciation French sound files [fee gur twah]
IPA   [fi gyʁ twa]

Usage notes: Se figurer means “to imagine, picture”:

Par exemple…

Si tu figures que tu vas y réussir …   If you imagine that you’re going to succeed …
Figurez-vous une belle plage.   Picture a beautiful beach.

In the imperative, figure-toi or figurez-vous has an additional, not entirely dissimilar meaning to the above so it’s technically not an idiomatic expression, but it is extremely common and useful. It’s used as a sort of filler to express surprise or mild disbelief:

Par exemple…

Il l’a perdu, figure-toi.   He lost it, imagine that / if you can believe that. /
Get this, he lost it.
Figurez-vous qu’on ne peut pas y aller ensemble.   Believe it or not, we can’t go together.

Somewhat synonymous: Tu te rends compte – "Can you imagine?!"

 Despite its structural similarity, figure-toi is not equivalent to "go figure," which is essentially an acknowledgment of Murphy’s law (la loi de l’emmerdement maximum). The French translation of "go figure" is allez comprendre.

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