voi·​là vwä-ˈlä How to pronounce voilà (audio)
 nonstandard  wä-
variants or voila
used to call attention, to express satisfaction or approval, or to suggest an appearance as if by magic

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Vwa-Lah, Wa-Lah, Wa-La: The Many Misspellings of Voilà

Voilà is a French borrowing into English that has mostly retained its Francophonic pronunciation: \vwä-ˈlä\, or \vwah-LAH\. It is clear that the \v\ in the pronunciation of voilà is sometimes not heard, and this, combined with the mismatch between voilà’s spelling and pronunciation, has led to a number of misspellings of the word based on its pronunciation. We have seen evidence for vwa-lah, vwah-la, wa-lah, wa-la, wah-lah, wallah, and even viola (for those who remember the letters in the word, if not the particular order of them). While these misspellings are more common in informal writing, we have started seeing them in newspapers and other edited sources as well. The correct spelling is voilà: if you have a hard time remembering how to spell it, you can use the mnemonic that voilà very often is misspelled.

Examples of voilà in a Sentence

Students would take notes on their laptops in class, then take their laptops home and do their homework on them. To turn in an assignment, they would simply drag and drop it into the appropriate folder, where the teacher could wirelessly retrieve it. Voilà: the paperless classroom. Lev Grossman, Time, 3 Nov. 2003
Why interview people when you can simply hop on the computer, type in some search terms, and, voilà, reportage? New Republic, 18 Oct. 1999
Because you received the above message from a familiar colleague, you are less suspicious; intrigued by his message, you click on the attached … file to see what he is talking about. A fake error message is displayed, and voila! You are now infected, too! Richard Peters et al., Science, 16 July 1999
Beans, meat, seasonings, and voilà—cassoulet. Elizabeth Sahatjian, Elle, January 1988
Recent Examples on the Web Simply plug it in and, voila, Halloween decor done! Dorian Smith-Garcia, Parents, 4 Oct. 2023 Melt the ghee with the oil over medium heat in the skillet and toast the bread, flipping once, until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes per side, et voila! Farideh Sadeghin, Saveur, 14 Sep. 2023 Now, picture those neat rows replaced by an apparently random jumble of blocks, and voila — aperiodic decor. Cody Cottier, Discover Magazine, 27 Apr. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'voilà.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French, literally, see there

First Known Use

1739, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of voilà was in 1739

Dictionary Entries Near voilà

Cite this Entry

“Voilà.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/voil%C3%A0. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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