Elle est entrée en coup de vent.
ay lay ah-tray ah kood VAH. Click below to hear this.*
She burst in.
You’re sitting quietly with friends, enjoying a cup of tea or a glass of wine by the fireplace. The conversation has died down and you are all just enjoying the glow.
And then the door blows open, and she bursts in, all arms and legs, feathers flying off her hat, packages spilling from her hands and words from her mouth. Even the fire flickers and flinches. Uh-oh, so much for your quiet evening!
Elle est entrée en coup de vent. She came in like a gust of wind. You’ve seen un coupbefore; if you enter coup in the search bar on this page, you’ll find quite a few expressions based on that one word, which (in its most basic sense) means a blow or a hit.
When she comes in that door, it feels like stepping outside on a windy, stormy winter day. The wind slaps you in the face, knocks you off balance.
Why en coup de vent instead of, for example, comme un coup de vent?
It’s the difference between a simile and a metaphor. Comme (like) introduces a simile: you are comparing one thing to another. En introduces a metaphor. You are saying that one thing is another. Her entry is a violent gust of wind. She may be a really sweet person, but she certainly knows how to stir things up.
*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file: