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.

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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