French Word of the Day: rocambolesque

French Word of the Day: rocambolesque
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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

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