I'm reading a text written in French, and the character is introducing herself to another one. She says her name is Julie Dieudonné-Peyrard, but the other character doesn't understand and asks her to spell it. After spelling, she asks if he did understand, and he answers with "Oh, là, là". What does this expression mean? Is it used in other contexts?

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    Note to English readers : in French, there is no risqué connotation to “oh là là”. Commented Dec 13, 2012 at 0:40
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    Note to French readers: Yes, amazingly, they've also managed to pervert the meaning of risqué... Commented Feb 4, 2013 at 10:00

1 Answer 1


In this context, I guess it means that the other character finds the other's name very complicated. In English it would be something like oh, dear.

This post on lawlessfrench.com has a good explanation of the meaning of oh là là in other cases

The French phrase oh là là isn't so much an expression as an interjection. It can indicate surprise, disappointment, commiseration, distress, annoyance… any moderately strong reaction to something that was just said or done. It can be strengthened with additional 's, always in pairs.

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    It could also mean he recognizes the same and is surprised, or annoyed, whatnot, by the fact that he may know that person, or that it is a famous one, or something. Anyway, good explanation of oh là là. Commented Dec 12, 2012 at 23:34

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