French phrase of the Day: Battre la chamade

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 8 Jun, 2021 Updated Tue 8 Jun 2021 09:34 CEST
French phrase of the Day: Battre la chamade

How did a piece of military jargon become such a romantic expression?  


Why do I need to know Battre la chamade

Because it’s the most poetic way to say that you’re falling in love. 

What does it mean?

Battre la chamade is most commonly used with the expression Mon coeur bat la chamade – My heart is beating wildly. 

It is a romantic way of saying that you’re highly attracted to someone, that your heart is pounding, and that you might be falling in love. 


The word chamade comes from the italian verb ciamà – to call, and was originally used in the military domain. Historically, it referred to “the sound of a trumpet.” 

During wars, it was a way for soldiers to say to their enemies that they were capitulating. 

The word chamade entered the vocabulary of love in the 17th century and was used to illustrate the beating of the heart that increases when a lover meets the eye of his or her beloved. 

Use it like this

A chaque fois que je le vois, mon cœur bat la chamade – Every time I see him, my heart pounds

It has inspired several French singers such as Julien Clerc in the 1970s (below)

Comme un volcan devenu vieux… Mon coeur bat lentement la chamade – Like a volcano that has become old... My heart is slowly beating 


or Vincent Delerm in 2019 (Juste sentir mon cœur qui bat… La chamade – Feeling my heart beating…wildly)


Avoir le coeur qui s'affole – When your heart is racing

Avoir le coeur qui palpite fort – When your heart is beating fast

Eprouver une émotion perturbante – When you’re experiencing a troubling emotion



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