I'm trying to understand the differences between the different interjections ending in "là là." According to Wiktionnaire...

  • "oh là là"
    • Marque l’étonnement, la surprise, la stupéfaction.
    • Marque l’enthousiasme, l’excitation.
    • Marque la déception.
  • "ouh là là"
    • Marque l’admiration.
    • Expression d’avertissement, de peur ou de douleur.
    • Indique du sarcasme.
  • "ah là là"
    • (Familier) Sert à exprimer de la lassitude, ou une certaine contrariété fataliste (néanmoins souvent chargé d’une connotation affectueuse).
  • "ah là là là là là là....
    • Same as "ah là là," but stronger
  • "ouh là"
    • Expression d’avertissement.
  • "houlà"
    • Marque l’étonnement, la surprise.
  1. I'm a little unclear on the precise difference between "oh là là" and "ouh là là" - I'm wondering if anyone can provide some examples or tips?
  2. If anyone has extra phrases ending in "là là" or meanings I missed, feel free to provide them. Thanks!

1 Answer 1


The correct official interjection is oh là là: https://www.cnrtl.fr/definition/oh%20la%20la

However, a consequence of this lexicalization is that it tends to be quite trivial, weaker than it originally used to be.

Ouh là là is a more intense variant.

Note that ouh requires more tension in the mouth.

You usually use ouh là là either when you hear shocking news or disapprove someone's behavior, or if you are suddenly confronted to a very problematic, urgent situation; and sometimes, it is intended to tease someone who seems to have a crush on someone else.

About ah là là, I would add something that you didn't mention. You can use it if someone really gets on your nerves and you just give up on them:

"Ah là là, laisse tomber, t'es vraiment trop con."


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