Word of the day: Dégringolade

Word of the day: Dégringolade
One of those French words that rolls off the tongue

Why do I need to know dégringolade?

Because you’ve probably come across it in a few different contexts – and it’s fun to pronounce.

What does it mean?

It comes from the verb dégringoler, which means to drop, plunge or tumble. A dégringolade is a rapid and sudden decline or deterioration.

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According to the CNRTL (Centre National de Ressources Textuelles et Lexicales), the word comes from the Dutch word crinkelen (to make curl), from crinc (ring, circle). A dégringolade therefore a kind of spiralling descent.

Dégringolade can also be used figuratively to talk about someone’s fall from grace, humiliation or downfall. In politics, it’s also used to talk about a party that has lost a large amount of voters.

Use it like this

Une entreprise en pleine dégringolade – The business is in the throes of a tumble

Le taux d’incidence poursuit sa dégringolade – The incidence rate continues to plummet

Depuis la révélation de sa corruption, ce fut la dégringolade pour ce politicien – Since the corruption scandal was revealed, this politician has suffered a fall from grace

Le PCF n’a fait que dégringoler depuis nombreuses années – Electoral support for the PCF has been declining for several years


Chute – fall

Effondrement – collapse

Dévaler – hurtle down

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