French Expressions Using Coup

Idiomatic French expressions

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The French word un coup literally refers to a "shock" or "blow" and is also used in many idiomatic expressions. Learn how to say whiplash, dirty trick, manna from heaven, and more with this list of expressions with coup.

Possible Meanings of Coup

  • blow
  • move (chess)
  • punch (boxing)
  • shock
  • shot (archery)
  • stroke (cricket, golf, tennis)
  • throw (dice)
  • trick, practical joke

Expressions Using Coup

un beau coup d'œil
a nice view

un coup à la porte
knock on the door

un coup bas
low blow

un coup de l'amitié (informal)
one (drink) for the road

un coup de barre (informal)
temporary but extreme fatigue

un coup de bélier
waterhammer; violent shock ​

un coup de boule (familiar)

un coup de chance
piece/stroke of luck

un coup du ciel
manna from heaven

un coup de cœur
intense but fleeting interest/passion

un coup de crayon
pencil stroke

un coup de destin
blow dealt by fate

un coup d'État
overthrow of the government

un coup de l'étrier (informal)
one (drink) for the road

un coup d'épée dans l'eau
a complete waste of time

un coup de fil (informal)
phone call

un coup de foudre
bolt of lightning; love at first sight

un coup du lapin (informal)
rabbit punch; whiplash

un coup de main
helping hand, assistance

un coup de marteau
hammer blow

un coup d'œil

un coup de pied

un coup de pinceau
brush stroke

un coup de plume
pen stroke

un coup de poing

un coup de pompe

un coup de pot (familiar)
stroke of luck

un coup de pouce
helping hand, a nudge in the right direction

un coup de salaud (familiar)
dirty trick

un coup de sang
stroke; extreme anger

un coup de soleil

un coup du sort
blow dealt by fate

un coup de tête
sudden impulse, head-butt

un coup de veine (informal)
stroke of luck

un coup de vieux (informal)
sudden aging

un coup dur
tough blow, something difficult to accept

un coup en traître
stab in the back

un coup en vache (familiar)
dirty trick

un coup monté

un coup pour rien
a waste of time

coups et blessures (law)
assault and battery

un mauvais coup
dirty trick, mean trick, nasty blow

un sale coup
dreadful blow

accuser le coup
to stagger under the blow / shock

attraper le coup
to get the knack

attraper un coup de soleil
to get sunburn

avoir le coup
to have the knack

avoir le coup de foudre
to fall in love at first sight

avoir le coup de main
to have the touch

avoir le coup d'œil
to have a good eye

avoir un bon coup de crayon
to be good at drawing

avoir un coup dans le nez (informal)
to be drunk, to have had one too many

avoir un coup de barre (informal)
to be drained/exhausted

avoir un coup de blues (informal)
to have the blues, feel blue

avoir un coup de pompe
to feel suddenly exhausted, drained

boire un coup
to have a drink

donner des coups dans la porte
to bang on the door

donner un coup à quelqu'un
to hit someone

se donner un coup à la tête / au bras
to bang one's head / arm

donner un coup d'arrêt à
to check, put a break on

donner un coup de lime / chiffon / éponge / brosse à
to run a file / cloth / sponge / brush over

donner un coup de poignard dans le dos
to stab someone in the back, betray someone

donner un coup de téléphone
to make a phone call

donner un coup sec (pour dégager quelque chose)
to hit something sharply (to loosen or release it)

donner un coup de vieux (informal)
to put years on, make obsolete

en mettre un coup
to put one's effort into it

en prendre un coup (informal)
to have a blast, a great time; to be affected by s.t.; to take a blow, hammering (figurative)

en venir aux coups
to come to blows

être aux cent coups
to be frantic, to not know which way to turn

être dans le coup (informal)
to be in on it​

être hors du coup (informal)
to not be in on it

être sur un coup (informal)
to be up to something

faire d'une pierre deux coups
to kill two birds with one stone

faire le coup d'être malade
to pretend to be sick

faire les quatre cents coups
to sow one's wild oats, get in trouble, lead a wild life

faire un coup
to do a job

faire un coup d'éclat
to create a commotion, make a fuss (positive or negative)

faire un coup de vache à quelqu'un (informal)
to play a dirty trick on someone

faire un mauvais coup à quelqu'un
to play a mean/dirty trick on someone

faire un sale coup à quelqu'un
to play a dirty trick on someone

jeter un coup d'œil à
to glance at

lancer un coup d'œil à
to glance at​

manquer le coup
to fail completely, botch it

marquer le coup (informal)
to mark the occasion, to show a reaction

monter le coup à quelqu'un (familiar)
to take someone for a ride

monter un coup
to plan/pull a job

passer en coup de vent
to visit/pass by very briefly/quickly

prendre un coup de vieux (informal)
to age, become old

réussir un beau coup (informal)
to pull it off

sonner un coup
to ring (doorbell, bell)

tenir le coup
to hold out, resist

tenter le coup (informal)
to have a go, try one's luck

tirer un coup de revolver / feu
to fire a shot

valoir le coup
to be worth it

Ça a porté un coup sévère (à leur moral) 
That dealt a sharp blow (to their morale).

Ça lui a fait un coup. (informal)
It was a bit of a shock for him.

Ça vaut le coup
It's worth it.

Ça vaut le coup d'œil.​
It's worth seeing.

C'est bien un coup à lui.
That's just like him (to do that).

C'est le coup de barre ici. (informal)
You pay through the nose here.

C'est un coup à se dégoûter ! (informal)
It's enough to make you sick!

C'est un coup à se tuer ! (informal)
That's a good way to get killed!

Il en met un sacré coup. (informal)
He's really going at it.

Je me donnerais des coups !
I could kick myself!

Le coup est parti.
The gun went off.

Les coups pleuvaient.
Blows rained down.

Les coups tombaient dru.
Blows fell thick and fast.

à chaque / tout coup
every time

à coup sûr

à six coups

à tous les coups
every time

après coup

au coup par coup
on an ad hoc basis

avant les trois coups (theater)
before the curtain goes up

coup sur coup
one after another

du coup
as a result

du même coup
at the same time, all the same

du premier coup
right away, right off the bat

d'un seul coup
in one try, at one go

pour un coup
for once

rire un bon coup
to have a good laugh

sous le coup de
in the grip of

sur le coup
outright, at the time, at first

sur le coup de 10 heures
around 10 o'clock

tout à coup
all of a sudden

tout d'un coup
all at once

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ThoughtCo. "French Expressions Using Coup." ThoughtCo, Mar. 23, 2018, ThoughtCo. (2018, March 23). French Expressions Using Coup. Retrieved from ThoughtCo. "French Expressions Using Coup." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 18, 2018).