1. Education
Send to a Friend via Email

French Expressions with Tomber

Idiomatic French expressions

By

The French verb tomber literally means "to fall" and is also used in many idiomatic expressions. Learn how to fall in love, be gullible, knock something over, and more with this list of expressions with tomber.

Possible meanings of tomber
  • to fall (over, down)
  • to happen
  • (familiar) to be/get busted/nicked
  • (day) to end
  • (fabric) to hang
  • (fever) to drop
  • (mustache) to droop
  • (noise) to drop, fall away
  • (number) to fall, drop
  • (shoulders) to slope
  • (wind) to die down, abate

Expressions with tomber

tomber à l'eau
to fall into the water

tomber amoureux de quelqu'un
to fall in love with someone

tomber bien bas (figurative)
to sink really low

tomber dans
to become, take to, lapse/fall into

tomber dans la marmite (familiar)
to fall under the spell, become passionate (about)

tomber dans l'eau
to fall into the water

tomber dans le domaine public
to be in the public domain/out of copyright

tomber dans le panneau (informal)
to fall for it, be gullible

tomber dans le piège
to fall into a trap, be trapped

tomber dans les pommes (informal)
to faint, pass out

tomber dans l'excès inverse
to go to the opposite extreme

tomber de
to fall from/out of/off

tomber de la lune (figurative)
to have dropped in from another planet

tomber dessus
to happen / show up unexpectedly

tomber de (tout) son haut
to crash to the ground, fall headlong

tomber du ciel
to be a godsend, heaven-sent

tomber du haut
to fall from a height
(figurative) to come down with a bump

tomber d'un excès dans un autre
to go from one extreme to another

tomber juste
to be correct, to hit the nail on the head

tomber le même jour
to fall/occur on the same day

tomber par terre
to fall to the ground

tomber sur
to come around to, light upon; to run/bump into; to come across/upon


bien tomber
to occur at the right time; to be lucky

faire tomber
to knock down, over; to drop; to bring down

laisser tomber
to drop; to let down, abandon, leave in the lurch

mal tomber
to occur at the wrong time; to be unlucky

se laisser tomber dans un fauteuil
to drop into an armchair


Ça tombe bien
That's fortunate/convenient

Ça tombe à point/pic (informal)
That's perfect timing

Ça ne pouvait pas mieux tomber
It couldn't come/happen at a better time

L'eau tombe en cascades
Water is cascading down

Et il a fallu que ça tombe sur moi ! (ironic)
It (just) had to be me!

La foudre est tombée
Lightning struck

Il est tombé sur la tête (informal)
He's got a screw loose, he must have been dropped on his head as a child

Il les tombe toutes
He's a real ladykiller

Il m'est tombé sur le dos (familiar)
He laid into me, went for me

Il m'est tombé sur le paletot (familiar)
He laid into me, went for me

Il m'est tombé sur le râble (familiar)
He laid into me, went for me

Il nous est tombé dessus
He showed up unexpectedly

Il tombe de la neige
It's snowing

Il tombe quelques gouttes
It's sprinkling / spitting (with rain)

Laisse tomber ! (informal)
Forget it, let it go, never mind

La maladie, ça peut vous tomber dessus n'importe quand 
You can fall ill any time

La nouvelle vient de tomber à l'instant
The news has just broken

La nuit tombe
Night is falling / it's getting dark

Quand la solitude vous tombe dessus...  
When you suddenly find yourself alone...

Une quantité de problèmes leur est tombée dessus  
They had a whole series of problems

Qu'est-ce qu'il tombe ! (informal)
It's pouring / coming down in buckets / tipping it down!

Un téléfax vient de tomber
A fax has just come through


For the above meanings, tomber is conjugated with the auxiliary verb être. When conjugated with avoir, it has different meanings:

tomber quelqu'un (informal)
to beat, defeat someone

tomber la veste (informal)
to take off one's jacket

tomber le masque (informal)
to drop the mask


Tomber conjugations
Related Video
French Dialogues: Directions
French Dialogues: Eating Out
  1. About.com
  2. Education
  3. French Language
  4. French Vocabulary
  5. French Expressions
  6. Expressions with Verbs
  7. Tomber - French Expressions

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.