Un coup d'œil

French expressions analyzed and explained

Jeter un coup d'oeil
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Expression: Un coup d'œil

Pronunciation: [koo deuy]

Meaning: glance, glimpse, quick look

Literal translation: blow/stroke of the eye

Register: Normal

Notes: The French expression un coup d'œil indicates a quick glance, and can be used with many different verbs. The most common is jeter (to throw):

   jeter un coup d'œil à / dans / sur
      to glance at / in / on

   jeter un coup d'œil autour de soi
      to glance around (oneself)

   jeter un coup d'œil pour voir si...

      to take a look to see if...

The verb lancer (to throw, hurl, fling) can be used interchangeably with jeter in the above expressions.


There are some different types of coups d'œil:

   un (petit) coup d'œil discret - quick glance, discreet look

   un coup d'œil en dessous - shifty look

   un coup d'œil furieux - furious glance

   un coup d'œil furtif - quick glance, furtive look

   un coup d'œil indifférent - perfunctory glance

   un coup d'œil rétrospectif - retrospect, look back


Un coup d'œil can also be used with a few other verbs, for various meaning changes:

   apprécier d'un coup d'œil - to sum up, assess

   avoir le coup d'œil pour - to have an eye for, have a gift for, be good at spotting

   filer un coup d'œil (informal) - to take a look

   jauger d'un coup d'œil - to size up at a glance

   valoir le coup d'œil - to be worth seeing


More expressions:

   au premier coup d'œil - at first glance

   un beau coup d'œil - nice view

   d'un coup d'œil - at a glance

   jeter un œil (informal) - to have a look, check out


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