You may have heard someone say “voila,” but do you know what it means? Read on to discover everything you need to know about the meaning of voilà.
You’ve likely heard someone say voila at least a few times, but do you know what it means?
In this article, we’re exploring the popular term voila to uncover its definition, origin, synonyms, antonyms, and more. So if you’ve ever wondered where voila came from — keep reading.
What Is the Definition of Voila?
Most of us have seen or even used “voila” in the past. Voila may just be one word, but were you aware it has quite the assortment of meanings? Most of these definitions require more than one word, and in turn, we have decided to treat “voila” as an expression.
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines “voila” as an exclamation that can be used when showing other people something that you are very pleased with that you have just made or received.
Not only used to express approval or satisfaction, the interjection voila also refers to when an object seemingly magically appears out of nowhere.
What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Voila?
Synonyms are words or, more often than not, the case with voila phrases with the same or similar definition as the original.
Synonyms are an outstanding way to help us memorize the definition of a word. Not only that, they are paramount in avoiding repetition in written and verbal communication.
Below are example synonyms of voila provided by Power Thesaurus:
- Before you know it
- Here you are
- Bob’s your uncle
- There you go
- What do you know
- There you are
- There you have it
On the other hand, an antonym is a phrase or word with an opposite meaning from the original. While this is not often the case, currently, there are no categorical antonyms for voila.
Common Misspellings of Voila
Voilà has largely retained its Francophonic pronunciation of \vwah-LAH\ or \vwä-ˈlä\. While it is clear from the pronunciation that the “v” in the voila is silent or not heard, this has led to many misspellings.
From the likes of vwah-la, wa-lah, vwa-lah and wah-lah to wallah and wa-la, these misspellings all are common in informal writing. Over time, these misspellings have begun to creep into edited sources, like newspapers and other sources.
If you are having difficulty remembering how to spell the interjection correctly, remember the mnemonic that voila very often is misspelled.
Another common misspelling stems from the English name for the musical instrument “viola,” which is called an “alto” in French.
Note to reader: The grave accent on the “a” in voila is obligatory when using voila in French. It is acceptable to drop the accent in English as we tend to lose the accents of words borrowed from languages other than our own.
The correct spelling in French is voila; when used in English, we have nixed the accent. The interjection is spelled with an accent in French. Therefore, be sure that your spellcheck doesn’t automatically count it as correct when you, unfortunately, forgot to include the accent.
What Is the Etymology of Voila?
When we look at a word’s etymology, we look at its origin. This helps us see how the definitions and spellings have evolved.
In essence, etymology is a word’s origin story – from its earliest beginnings and all the places it has stopped in between.
First used in 1739, voila is the French imperative of voir (literally meaning to see or to view) combined with the old French la, meaning there.
Respectively, each were derived from the Latin videre or “to see” and Latin ille or “yonder.” These come from the Latin illāc meaning “by that way.”
How Can Voila Be Used in a Sentence?
Now that you understand the history and meaning behind voila, let’s review how to use voilà in a sentence properly.
With the help of these examples, try using the word voila in a sentence today! Since voila is used in French just as much as in English, we have included a few examples in French as well to get acquainted with the word.
Below you will find a few examples of voila to help get you started:
“Voilà pourquoi je suis parti” means “This is why I left” in English.
That is utterly amazing; we learned in class today that you can extract iron bits from dirt with a magnet, and voila! They are quickly picked up.
“Voilà où il habite maintenant” means “this is where he lives now” in English.
Seriously, just add water to the brim, wait a few moments, and voila — perfect iced tea every time.
Voila! What was once choppy and did not make a drop of sense is now a masterpiece!
So, what does voila mean, you ask?
Simply put, voila is used to call attention, to express satisfaction or approval, or to suggest an appearance as if by magic.
The term can also refer to phrases like “it’s finished,” “there you go,” and even the age-old “ta-da!”