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I've always been fond of this pretty, little word, but I seldom use it in my own speech (maybe once every five or ten years), because it seems too triumphant.  This morning, however, after a long, numerical list of steps that some colleagues and I need to take, followed by a conclusion we wished to reach, I just blurted out "Voilà!" and felt good about it.


  • Literally, look there. From vois (see!, look!), second-person singular imperative of voir (to see, to look) and (there).
  • (Wiktionary)

Sometimes I use "q.e.d." in similar circumstances.


Selected readings

"Voilà!  Ear spellings" (10/23/07)

"Voilá: the movie" (4/28/05)


  1. cameron said,

    August 12, 2023 @ 10:03 am

    it's not usually so triumphant in the context of the expression "me voilà"

  2. Taylor, Philip said,

    August 12, 2023 @ 10:42 am

    I have never previously encountered "me voilà" — for me, the idiom is et voilà !, = "and there you go!". Not triumphant, just "and that's all there is to it.". Used, for example, when explaining something to someone that is not immediately obvious but which is easily understood (or perhaps more important, easily remembered) once explained.

  3. Stephen Jones said,

    August 12, 2023 @ 10:51 am

    Listening: the great Barbara Pravi https://stephenjones.blog/2021/06/15/pravi/

  4. Robert Coren said,

    August 12, 2023 @ 10:58 am

    One doesn't generally encounter "me voilà" among English speakers, but it's perfectly normal French for "here I am"; in French, "voilà" is the equivalent of "here is/am/are", and most often appears with an object, although it can also be used stand-alone as an interjection, as in the uses by English-speakers cited above.

    I remember back in the 8th grade, when I was first studying French, saying, as I arrived with some other kids for lunch, "Voilà nous", and immediately having my word order corrected by my French teacher, who happened to be right behind us.

    I occasionally enjoy facetiously replacing "voilà" with "viola", perhaps under the influence of childhood memories of a Walt Kelly parody of a Mickey Spillane thriller which included as a character Viola Voila, Girl Insect.

  5. Laura Morland said,

    August 12, 2023 @ 12:51 pm

    Having spent half the year in Paris since the year 2000, I can't help but chime in here.

    "Me voilà" does indeed mean "Here I am," but the context of its use would be extremely rare; perhaps when recounting a story, one might might use it to indicate that one had arrived at a certain location. Philip Taylor says he's never encountered it, which makes total sense to me.

    *Voilà* "tout court" (just by itself) is much more common; the French use it ALL THE TIME. I worked for several years as a French-to-English translator, mostly of documentaries, and it was often the most slippery word to translate, as it can be expressed in a myriad of different ways in English, depending on the context.

    Often *voilà* (or even *voilà, voilà*) is a filler word, when someone has been talking for a bit, but is trying to think of the next thing he wants to say. It that sense, it conveys the idea of "summation". Other times, "voilà !" (or "le voilà") can mean "here it is!" … what we Americans we were taught in school was "le voici", a phrase the French now use rarely, along with "ici", which they use practically not at all).

    Your triumphant "Voilà !", Victor, feels just right to me. Bravo on your successful conclusion! ("Bravo !" is term the French use a lot, by the way, along with "Super !", accent on the 2nd syllable.)

  6. Taylor, Philip said,

    August 12, 2023 @ 1:29 pm

    « "Super !", accent on the 2nd syllable ». And presumably — but I may well be wrong, not having had the good fortune to spend half the year in France since 2000 — not /suːp ˈəː/ but something closer to /sy ˈpɛʁ/. N'est-ce pas ?

  7. Joe said,

    August 12, 2023 @ 6:17 pm

    Never heard "me voilà" but "le voilà" is exceedingly common. However, "voilà" and "voici" work differently in French from "there is" and "here is" because "ici" and "là" work differently from "here" and "there" ("ça" and "ceci" follow the same pattern). If you are holding an object in your hand and showing it to someone, it is "là" ("there"). If I am at my office when you come looking for me, I say "je suis là" ("I am there"). If you want your dog to come to you, it's "viens là" ("come there").

    I think it's not so much a semantic difference in what French speakers is here or there, though that's interesting to consider philosophically, but rather a grammatical pattern that "là" is more notionally neutral than "there" and doesn't necessarily say whether the place in question is near or far, while you can use "ici" in these settings if you really need to insist that it's near.

  8. Peter Grubtal said,

    August 13, 2023 @ 1:32 am

    German also uses "er ist da", for "he's here", whereas in most contexts "da" would be translated by "there".

  9. Taylor, Philip said,

    August 13, 2023 @ 4:32 am

    "If you want your dog to come to you, it's "viens là" ("come there")". Are you certain of this, Joe ? Searching the web for French-authored prose on controlling one's dog, I find many instances of guidance along the lines of the following :

    Il faut avant tout que votre chien vous voit pour effectuer un rappel. Tentez de vous approchez du chien pour attirer son attention et faites suivre le nom du chien par un ordre comme : "Snoopy, viens ici !" ou "Snoopy, au pied". Mais employez toujours la même expression.

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