ca y est, j'ai pigé


Senior Member
i've been looking for a translation of the expression in english 'the penny dropped' which is used when the moment comes when you finally understand something.... for that 'click' moment... when you finally realise something...
and i came across something which claims the translation to be
ca y est, j'ai pige

but is this actually used in french... or is it a bit obsolete? or is it informa?
could i used it in a sentence like...
pour les generaux, ca y etait, ils ont pige... sur le fait que...

is that possible?
  • Chimel

    Senior Member
    Well, "ça y est, j'ai pigé" can be a good translation for "the penny dropped". It is actually used in French.

    But it is a set expression which you can hardly use in other tenses than the present. And if you do, then you must also change the second verb: "ça y était, ils avaient pigé" (but it is still a bit strange to me...).

    In the future, it is definitely impossible: "ça y sera, j'aurai pigé"*.

    In Belgium, we used to say "le franc est tombé", which is close to the penny. But I think it is not widespread in France. And anyway, now with the euro... :)
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    is something you use then only in speaking... never to describe a situation in the past....

    could i not say...

    Ca y est, ils ont pige. Les generaux commencent a comprendre.


    Senior Member
    french (France)
    "piger" is actually used in french but is popular (familier).Your sentence should read :
    Pour les généraux, ils ont fini par piger que les guerres avaient aussi des côtés négatifs.
    Other possibilities : Ils ont fini par comprendre/réaliser. "finir par" preceding the verb helps introducing the length of time it takes to your penny to drop.
    Interesting to note that in hebrew, we have exactly the same expression (probably adapted from the english language). "The token dropped into place" describing the long time the public phone token used to take to fall into place.
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