interjection voi·là \vwä-ˈlä, ÷wä-\
variants: or


Definition of voilà

  1. —used to call attention, to express satisfaction or approval, or to suggest an appearance as if by magic

Examples of voilà in a sentence

  1. 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

  2. Why interview people when you can simply hop on the computer, type in some search terms, and, voilà, reportage? —New Republic, 18 Oct. 1999

  3. 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

  4. Beans, meat, seasonings, and voilà—cassoulet. —Elizabeth Sahatjian, Elle, January 1988

Vwa-lah, Wa-lah, Wa-la: the Many Misspellings of voilà

Voilà is a French borrowing into English that has mostly retained is 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.

Origin and Etymology of voilà

French, literally, see there

First Known Use: 1739

VOILÀ Defined for English Language Learners


interjection voi·là \vwä-ˈlä, ÷wä-\

Definition of voilà for English Language Learners

  • —used when something is being presented or shown to someone

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capable of being understood in two ways

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