French word of the day: Bim

French word of the day: Bim
Photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash/Nicolas Raymond
Whether you want to prove a point or just add a bit of action to your story, bim is definitely a word you need to include in your vocabulary.

Why do I need to know bim?

Because the French language is all about punctuating sentences with random noises and emphasis words.    

What does it mean?

Bim (pronounced “beam”) does not really mean anything. It’s more of a sound you make at the beginning or the end of your sentence to give it a bit more life. Generally, brutality or at least some form of conflict is involved in the story being told.

The website of French encyclopaedia Universalis gives it this definition: “onomatopoeia implying a blow” or a word that sounds like what it is describing.

In this context in English you might say 'bam' to imply a blow or a hit and you will hear this a lot when listening to children playing as they re-enact battles or their favourite superhero movie.

But its popular with adults too and usually comes up during a debate or an argument, albeit not a physical one.

When you have proved the other person wrong, you can emphasise your victory with an et bim! that we could compare to an English 'take that' or 'in your face'.

Though it is colloquial, it is not a vulgar term.

Use it like this

Et là, bim, il est tombé ! – And then, bam, he fell 

Et bim, je savais que j’avais raison ! – I knew I was right, take that!


Boom – Bang

Et toc – So there you have it!  

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