Tomber Expressions

Tomber - French verb to fall
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Falling for French Phrases

The French verb tomber, “to fall,” is found in many idiomatic expressions, including to faint, to be lucky, and to hit the nail on the head. Learn these and dozens of other French expressions featuring tomber.

Tomber translations

  • to fall (down, over)
  • to happen
  • (day) to end
  • (fabric) to hang
  • (fever) to drop
  • (mustache) to droop
  • (noise) to drop, fall away
  • (number) to fall, drop
  • (shoulders) to slope
  • (wind) to die down, abate
  • (familiar) to be/get busted/nicked

Proverb with tomber

attendre que les alouettes lui tombent toutes rôties   to wait for things to fall into one’s lap

Expressions with tomber

tomber à l’eau   to fall in the water
tomber amoureux de quelqu’un   to fall in love with someone
tomber au champ d’honneur   to be killed in action
tomber bien bas (figurative)   to sink really low
tomber comme des mouches   to fall like flies
tomber comme un cheveu sur la soupe (informal)   to turn up at a bad time, to be completely irrelevant / unexpected
tomber dans   to become, take to, lapse/fall into
tomber dans la marmite (familiar)   to fall under the spell, become passionate (about)
tomber dans l’eau   to fall into the water
tomber dans le domaine public   to arrive in the public domain, fall out of copyright
tomber dans le panneau (informal)   to fall for it, be gullible
tomber dans le piège   to fall into a trap, be trapped
tomber dans les pommes (informal)   to faint, pass out
tomber dans l’excès inverse   to go to the opposite extreme
tomber de   to fall from/out of/off
tomber de la lune (figurative)   to have dropped in from another planet
tomber des cordes (informal)   to be pouring rain
tomber dessus   to happen / show up unexpectedly
tomber de (tout) son haut   to crash to the ground, fall headlong
tomber du ciel   to be a godsend, heaven-sent
tomber du haut   to fall from a height
  (figurative)   to come down with a bump
tomber d’un excès dans un autre   to go from one extreme to another
tomber juste   to be correct, to hit the nail on the head
tomber le même jour   to fall/occur on the same day
tomber par terre   to fall over, fall to the ground
tomber sur   to come around to, light upon; to run/bump into; to come across/upon
bien tomber   to occur at the right time; to be lucky
faire tomber   to knock down, over; to drop; to bring down
laisser tomber   to drop; to let down, abandon, leave in the lurch
se laisser tomber dans un fauteuil   to drop into an armchair
mal tomber   to occur at the wrong time; to be unlucky
ne pas être tombé de la dernière pluie (figurative)   to not have been born yesterday
Ça ne pouvait pas mieux tomber.   It couldn’t come / happen at a better time.
Ça tombe à point. (informal)   That’s perfect timing.
Ça tombe à pic. (informal)   That’s perfect timing.
Ça tombe bien.   That’s fortunate / convenient, That works out well.
Ça vient de tomber sur notre boîte email.   This just came by email.
Ce n’est pas tombé dans l’oreille d’un sourd.   It didn’t fall onto deaf ears.
L’eau tombe en cascades.   Water is cascading down .
Les écailles lui sont tombées des yeux.   The scales fell from his eyes.
La foudre est tombée.   Lightning struck.
Il a fallu que ça tombe sur moi ! (ironic)   It (just) had to be me!
Il est tombé sur la tête. (informal)   He’s got a screw loose, He must have been dropped on his head as a child.
Il les tombe toutes.   He’s a real ladykiller.
Il m’est tombé sur le dos. (familiar)   He laid into me, went for me.
Il m’est tombé sur le paletot. (familiar)   He laid into me, went for me.
Il m’est tombé sur le râble. (familiar)   He laid into me, went for me.
Il nous est tombé dessus.   He showed up unexpectedly.
Il tombe de la neige.   It’s snowing.
Il tombe quelques gouttes.   It’s sprinkling / spitting (with rain)
Laisse tomber ! (informal)   Forget it, let it go, never mind!
La maladie, ça peut vous tomber dessus n’importe quand.    You can fall ill any time.
La nouvelle vient de tomber à l’instant.   The news has just broken.
La nuit tombe.   Night is falling, It’s getting dark.
Quand la solitude vous tombe dessus …   When you suddenly find yourself alone …
Une quantité de problèmes leur est tombée dessus.   They had a whole series of problems.
Qu’est-ce qu’il tombe ! (informal)   It’s pouring! It’s tipping itdown!

 For the vast majority of uses of tomber, including in all of the above expressions, the auxiliary verb is être. But there are a few informal phrases where tomber has a direct object, and for these, the auxiliary verb is avoir.

tomber le masque   to drop the mask
tomber quelqu’un   to beat, defeat someone
tomber la veste   to take off one’s jacket

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French expressions with tomber

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