France's news in English

Editions:  Europe · Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland

French Word of the Day: rocambolesque

Share this article

French Word of the Day: rocambolesque
Photo: Depositphotos
10:18 CET+01:00
Today's word of the day is fun to say and might also improve your English. Read on to find out more about the meaning of 'rocambolesque'.

Why do I need to know rocambolesque?

This is a fun word to say and a great way to give your French conversation some panache when you want to express disbelief about something.

So, what does it mean?

Rocambolesque means "incredible" and "extraordinary" and is used to describe something improbable.

For example, a rocambolesque story is one that is full of twists and extraordinary adventures.


Une affaire tout à fait rocambolesque et inexplicable encore aujourd'hui. - An utterly incredible and as yet unexplained event.

À chaque fois que quelqu'un déblatère une affirmation rocambolesque, il dit simplement: «Nomme-moi en deux! - Whenever somebody rattles off some wild assertion, he just says: "Name me two!

(The above examples comes from


The word derives from the fictional character Rocambole, an adventurer created by Pierre Alexis Ponson du Terrail, a 19th-century French writer.

The word rocambolesque has become common in French and other languages, including English, to label any kind of fantastic adventure.


Other words in French that get the same meaning across are bizarre or extravagant

Share this article

The Local is not responsible for content posted by users.
Become a Member or sign-in to leave a comment.

From our sponsors

How to see the very best of Europe this summer

Forget flying! The best way to see Europe is via bus and rail. Oh, and it's usually cheaper and often faster than taking to the skies. The Local rounds up some top tips for planning your next European adventure.