a volte-face

This page is about the idiom a volte-face



If you make a volte-face, you change your opinion or your decision about something to the exact opposite of what it was.

For example

  • When Nancy became a born-again Christian, she made a volte-face in her views on abortion and now she thinks it's wrong.

  • For some reason the government has done a volte-face on the dam proposal. They'd rejected it until last week, and then they suddenly said they'd build it after all.

This idiom means the same as "about-face", but "volte-face" is more formal.

Origin: This phrase derives from the Italian "voltafaccia", as in "volta" (turn) and "faccia" (face). It was adopted by the French, who changed it to "volte-face", and then it was adopted into formal English.

Quick Quiz

After all the controversy about the violence in the movie, the cinema showing it did a volte-face and decided

a. to show it anyway

b. not to show it

c. to cut screenings to one a day

Idiom of the Day

Contributor: Matt Errey