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The French idiom "Je tombe des nues" revealed

Get ready to learn all the things you have to know about the basic French idiom "Je tombe des nues". It includes a complete explanation of what it is and how to use it in a casual conversation with an audio example. But, we also added some useful things like slow pronunciation audio, dialogue example, synonyms and more!

French to English translation

  • Translation : I am flabbergasted

  • Literal meaning : I am falling from the clouds

  • Register : Neutral - Basic

How to pronounce it?



  • IPA : / ʒə tɔ̃b de ny /

aesthetic french quote tomber des nues

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What does it mean?


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 case, 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 surprises you and when someone arrives unexpectedly.

First scenario, someone just tells you some 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.


Example in a dialogue


Ton ex vient de se marier

Your ex just got married

Sérieux ? Je tombe des nues !

Seriously? I am falling from the clouds

Sérieux !


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La crème de la crème