Tirer plus vite que son ombre

Lucky Luke tire plus vite que son ombre
Lucky Luke tire plus vite que son ombre
Image de La Marque Zone

Comic French Expression

Meaning to be quick off the mark, to move at lightning speed
Literally to shoot faster than his shadow
Register informal
French pronunciation [tee ray plu veet k(eu) soh no(n)br(eu)]
IPA [ti ʀe ply vit kə so nɔ̃brə]

Usage notes: How can someone shoot more quickly than his shadow? Obviously, a normal person can’t, but Lucky Luke is anything but normal! This cowboy from the American Old West is the star of his own eponymous Belgian comic-book series. Created in 1946, Lucky Luke, which is pronounced [lu kee luk], is such a famously quick draw that he shoots faster than his own shadow, c’est l’homme qui tire plus vite que son ombre.*

While this isn’t a French idiom you’ll use or even hear every day, it’s a fun one to know and can be used with other verbs to talk about anything that happens very quickly.

Par exemple…

tirer plus vite que son ombre   to shoot quickly, to be quick off the mark
marcher plus vite que son ombre   to walk very quickly, at lightning speed
écrire plus vite que son ombre   to write with the pen racing over the paper

 Conseil concis

As always, the possessive adjective son has to change to agree with the subject of the sentence; e.g.,

Tu joues du piano plus vite que ton ombre !   Your fingers fly over the piano keys!

* Another French expression from comic books: tomber dans la marmite

 Related lessons

Juste pour rire

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