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In a literal sense, voilà means something like There it is. Voilà le monsieur qui parle anglais. There's the man who speaks English.

On the other hand, voilà is sometimes used as an exclamation, perhaps like "Bingo," in English.

Eh voilà, c'est une longue histoire (from Un homme et une femme).

How is voilà used informally, and does it have any particular meaning in this regard?

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    I'm not sure that your second example really corresponds to the "Bingo!" meaning, I'd say it's something more like "And there you have it, it's a long story". – Benjol Aug 23 '11 at 5:12
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    Agreed, it's more like "there". "Voilà, tu vois, je te l'avais bien dit!" -> "There, you see, I told you so!". "Voilà!" -> "There you go!" – Joubarc Aug 23 '11 at 5:55
  • I'm not sure if there's really a question here, since the answer is pretty much given in the question... – ℝaphink Aug 23 '11 at 10:04
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    @Raphink: That may be the way it looks to a native speaker. But I'm a foreigner, see "voilà" quite a lot, and "sort of" know the answer, but that's not the same as actually knowing. And part of the question is, "are there any other common meanings that I may have missed. The references to "depuis" and "il y a" in an answer below were enlightening, at least to me. – Tom Au Aug 23 '11 at 13:16
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I found this article:

Voilà can be an informal replacement for depuis or il y a when talking about how long something has been going on or how long ago something happened.


J'ai trouvé cet article:

Voilà peut être un remplacement utilisé à la place de depuis ou il y a, quand on parle à propos de quelque chose qu'est en train de se passer, ou à propos de quelque chose que se a passé il y a beaucoup de temps.

  • Voilà 20 minutes que je suis ici.
    I've been here for 20 minutes.

  • Nous avons mangé voilà trois heures.
    We ate three hours ago.

Tu peux trouver plus de information ici.

4

Voilà can be used to introduce something/someone :

Voilà un café.

Voilà Johnny.

Or used to describe an instantaneous event happening in the present

Voilà que le téléphone sonne

Ah voilà!

Or to explain things that have explained/said previously:

Voilà ce qu'il m'a dit hier.

Voilà ce que nous avons décidé.

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