I have three questions for the locution "en temps voulu".

  1. Can one use it colloquially?

  2. Can it convey, as found here: https://www.linguee.fr/francais-anglais/traduction/en+temps+voulu.html, the meaning of "in due time"?

  3. Is it considered very formal?

3 Answers 3


Note that while there is indeed the possible meaning of "in due time" or "from a timely manner", when for example you need to submit something before a given date, this expression is also often used as a more "elegant" way of saying "later":

Je sais que nous devons encore faire cela, mais nous nous en occuperons en temps voulu.

I know we still need to do that, but we'll take care of it later.

Was it that usage or the other one, both are rather formal from where I see it. I'd rather use it in a professional / administrative setup but could use it with my friends and family without sounding too weird.


This locution can be used in everyday speech but as well in formal writing, to the contrary of what a former answer asserts. What is colloquial in the way of a locution constructed with "voulu" is the locution "c'est voulu", which is to be found under "A" below.

(LFi) Loc. fam. C'est voulu : C'est fait exprès, ce n'est pas un hasard.

"En temps voulu" is not unique as a locution to be constructed with "voulu"; there is a whole family of such locutions, first of all the synonymous "au moment voulu", which register is the same. In fact it is a freely constructive family. This is so because "voulu" is an adjective, a full fledged adjective, and so you can construct all sorts of noun phrases with it. Below, "B" is the relevant meaning.

(TLFi, II) A. − Qui est fait, réalisé, obtenu volontairement.
               B. − Qui est commandé, requis, imposé par les circonstances.

  • les conditions voulues, les ingrédients voulus, la personne voulue, le ministre voulu, etc.

It is colloquial and not excessively formal. In due course. Perhaps also: In the fullness of time.

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