The French idiom "Je tombe des nues"

Get ready to discover all the things you want to know about the basic French expression “Je tombe des nues”.

Are included a detailed guide of what it is and how you can use it in everyday life with an audio example. Along with the useful stuff we added like synonyms, dialogue example, slow pronunciation audio and more!

In case you are interested, you will find more expressions tutorials like this one on this page plus the list of all our French words content on this page. C’est parti ! (Let’s go!)

Table of Contents

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French to English translation

How to pronounce it?

Slow pronunciation

Normal pronunciation

What does it mean?

Definition

  • Tomber → To fall
  • des nues→ from the clouds

It might surprise you that “nues” means “clouds” here, because we taught you that “clouds” are “nuages” and that “nue” means “naked“. Don’t worry, you are right!  “Nues” is an old French word that means “Nuages” but except for this expression, we don’t use it anymore.

We will see how to use it below, but in any cases, it carries the feeling of being surprised by something. As surprising as suddenly falling from the clouds, or as seeing someone falling from the clouds.

How to use it

You can use this expression in two situations: when something surprise you and when someone arrives unexpectedly.

First scenario, someone just tells you an extremely surprising news, then you would say: “Je tombe des nues !” (I’m flabbergasted!). Like if the surprise was so intense that you feel dizzy, like if you were falling.

Second scenario, someone that you REALLY didn’t expect to be there at this moment appears, then you could say to this person: “Tu tombes des nues !” (I didn’t expect you to be there!). Like if the only explanation for this person being there is because he/she felt of the clouds.

Synonyms

  • Tomber des nuages. (“To fall from the clouds“)
  • Tomber de sa chaise. (“To fall from your chair“)
  • Tomber de haut. (“To fall from high“)
  • Tomber du ciel. (“To fall from the sky“)

Dialogue example

Audio dialogue from French people

Dialogue audio

Dialogue transcription

” Ton ex vient de se marier “
” Your ex just got married “
” Sérieux ? Je tombe des nues ! “
” Seriously? I am falling from the clouds “
” Sérieux ! “
” Seriously! “
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