Tout d'un coup

woman blowing nose with hankerchief in park
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Expression: Tout d'un coup

Pronunciation: [ too doo(n) koo]

Meaning: all of a sudden, all at once

Literal translation: all of a blow

Register: normal

Notes

The French expression tout d'un coup has two possible meanings.

Tout d'un coup is commonly used interchangeably with the expression tout à coup to mean "suddenly, all of a sudden":

    En entendant les résultats, il a tout d'un coup commencé à pleurer.

   Upon hearing the results, he suddenly started crying.

 

    Tout d'un coup, j'ai eu envie de vomir.

   All of a sudden, I felt sick.

Though many native French speakers regularly use tout d'un coup as above, it is technically incorrect. The original—and, for purists, only—meaning of tout d'un coup is "all at once, in a single movement."

    Au lieu de payer en plusieurs versements, j'ai décidé d'acheter la voiture tout d'un coup.

   Rather than paying in installments, I decided to buy the car outright (pay the entire amount at once).

 

    Elle a avalé la bière tout d'un coup.

   She swallowed the beer all at once / in one go, She gulped down the whole beer.

Synonym: d'un seul coup

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