To have too many acts in a comedy means someone is trying to accomplish too many things at once. If even the pope isn’t indispensable, the loss of something or someone shouldn’t stop your world from turning. (or more idiomatically: really, really cold; a three-dog night) is just one of many Italian idioms that use animals to describe the character of something or someone. Well, you can sit on the fence all day long and never divine the meaning of this idiom by closely inspecting each word in the phrase. While learning Italian words and grammar are necessary to speak the language with confidence, it’s only step 1. “Hai voluto la bicicletta? Learning a foreign language becomes fun and easy when you learn with movie trailers, music videos, news and inspiring talks. This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you Italian has idioms as well. One of the best ways to get to know a language is to get to know its idioms. Subscribe to receive the very best Eating Europe stories in your inbox, Enjoy the hottest spots and best kept secrets of Trastevere like a true VIP, Share a genuine taste of local life in this iconic city, Savour a hand-picked selection of the best street food in Rome… right now. I frutti proibiti sono i più dolci. To learn from famous people, read this collection of Italian quotes, Italian sayings, and Italian idioms. So being “in the mouth of the wolf” may not be a bad thing after all. This literally translates to “In the mouth of the wolf.” And from this translation it might seem a long way to what it actually means in Italian: Good luck (or something similar to our own idiom “break a leg”)! can take anywhere. Not something you would say everyday, this idiom literally translates as “I’m going to take you around like a jacket in spring.” To understand the meaning of this, you must picture Italians walking around in spring with their jackets slung over their shoulders, their fingers strung through the little loop for hanging them on hooks. Creepy, huh? The expression doesn’t just apply to romantic partners; it can also be appropriate to describe the bond between friends, business partners, etc. They’re a curious group of words and expressions that are figurative in nature, but whose meanings are easily deducible and readily understood by speakers of the language. Bread is the perfect food. You know what happens? Non tutte le ciambelle riescono col buco. It doesn’t bother you at all. For example, a corrupt politician won’t tell on his equally corrupt comrade. Someone has got to remain sober in the house, right? Interesting and funny expressions in Italian. So if you just want to mess somebody up, this idiom and its corresponding hand gesture would be the way to go. I assume that this idiom comes from the times when there was war all over Italy. An idiom is usually a group or pair of words that is used for its figurative meaning, which is quite different and difficult to figure out if you just have the literal one. This idiom has an interesting background. Forge ahead with your study of Italian and you’ll be putting yourself in the way of some really interesting and creative idioms. Everything contributes something to the whole—whether it be a lone euro tossed into a donation basket, 10 minutes of quality time spent with your young daughter or a simple smile given to the old lady who rings up your groceries…. This means to be completely taken by surprise, usually from news of something that’s negative in nature. Think about this in English. Italian idioms are one of the most colorful ways to express yourself with native speakers. Idioms are creative, colorful ways of saying something with spice and punch. Please check your email for further instructions. You don’t need a whole lot, just little pinches of many things, and you get exquisite soup. The difference between knowing a language and speaking it as a native speaker is being able to master the idioms. This quaint little idiom means you can’t have the best of both worlds! Men in pursuit of the woman of their affections know this and won’t be bound by the usual limits of fair play. Italy has embraced its biking culture, with color-coded bike lanes, large bike parking spaces and prevalent bike-sharing programs. La vita è più dolce con te. They have origins and provenance, even if native speakers don’t remember them. I mean, it really is my idea of paradise. Besides Italian swear words. The best part? From salt, we go to pepper. We say, “Break a leg” to actors and musicians before they brave the stage to perform. They’re full-throated testaments to the high value and esteem Italians give to good food. A caval donato non si guarda in bocca. And the person who acts stupidly (like the thief who posts his loot on Facebook), is said to possess a brain the size of a bird. In a country like Italy, food comes up in everyday speech quite frequently, even when you’re not eating. But you’ve got to ask an Italian why this makes sense! There’s really nothing sweeter-smelling than a fresh batch of perfectly baked bread. A person who acts stupidly, has low intelligence or has poor judgment is said to have a hen’s brain. Italian men, the likes of Casanova, are world-class romantics and can sweep you off your feet with their uber-sexy accent and perfectly-made pasta. Click here to get a copy. There’ll be no “sugarcoating” and no “beating around the bush.” If they think you’re a bad actor, they’ll tell you so. To drown in a glass of water is to be easily overwhelmed with little problems. You’ve got a plethora of vegetables ready to be dunked into the water. Tap on any word to instantly see an image, in-context definition, example sentences and other videos in which the word is used. It’s always better to stay safe abroad and keep any valuables in your hotel (or better yet, never bring them on your vacation in the first place). Do you want to unearth the historical foundations of the modern Italian language? This one is comparable to the English idiom, “caught red-handed” or “caught with one’s hands in the cookie jar.” These idioms refer to someone who got caught stealing cash or something else, often helping themselves to the detriment of others. The relationship has its ups and downs. More fun, I reasoned, than trying to remember verb tenses. This proverb has a twin related to quantities: meglio poco che niente. But that’s really the standard reply. “Taken aback” captures some of the same meaning, as in “She was taken aback when she heard that I lost the baby.”, Misery does love company. There’s an Italian superstition that if you wish somebody good luck, bad things will happen instead. “È tutto pepe!” is used to describe somebody full of life—someone with a vibrant personality and a sunny disposition that lifts everyone’s spirits. I know. “Rompere il ghiaccio” is to obliterate awkwardness between people in social situations, especially for those who have just recently met. The equivalent of that in Italian is “In bocca al lupo” (In the mouth of the wolf). You’ve just learned 40 of the most common and useful Italian idioms used by native speakers. – … Dead as a dodo. Do you want to cruise around the streets of Rome with confidence? In 1936, a Royal Air Force squadron adopted three green rats as its emblem. Speaking of rain, let’s move on to this next Italian idiom, often used to describe an unfair or paradoxical situation that’s unlikely to change. That kind of situation sucks big time…in any language. It is actually bad luck to say to someone “Buona fortuna” or what we Anglo speakers would guess to be the equivalent to our good luck. Literally this idiom means “not to have hair on your tongue.” It is used to describe someone that is frank, who doesn’t hold back her opinion even if it’s not pretty. Then some information about him comes to light that reveals him as a corrupt and ruthless person. Be it your Italian vacation, your Italian girlfriend coming for a visit or that Italian cheese recipe bubbling in the oven. He defiantly snatches the blocks from your hand, as if saying, “Leave me alone! Life goes on, as it always has. If so, it’s time to take on Italian culture and unique native speech with Italian idioms. Its idiomatic meaning is to have a grudge against, or have it in for someone. Now that we’re talking food, have you ever noticed that no matter what the doctor says, that last piece of cake is practically impossible to resist? Thanks for subscribing! ), There are usually just three acts in a standard play. These babies are figurative in nature, and paying a visit to the finest stables in the world won’t reveal the meaning of “straight from the horse’s mouth,” either. I have been thinking about an interesting unifying theme for idioms but I wasn’t able to find anything until, while writing down phrases for an Instagram project which will begin soon, I wrote the phrase essere al verde and I realized that colours could be a great topic for a post about Italian idioms. I assume that this idiom comes from the times when there was war all over Italy. You may have already guessed the English equivalent of this one: The grass is always greener on the other side. All I have to say in closing is that if you’re struggling to learn Italian idioms along with the rest of the Italian language, in bocca al lupo. Your email address will not be published. Idioms and proverbs, in particular, provide enormous insight into a country’s culture and values. * * See Deirdré’s post for the translation. Funny and idiomatic expressions in Italian. The Italian “Attaccarre il cappello” not only means quitting in general, but has the added sense of quitting by virtue of marrying somebody rich (usually a man marrying a rich woman). Every little thing you have contributes to the whole. Both fight to make it work. All Rights Reserved. The Italian idiom “Capita a fagiolo” (literally, “happens at the bean”), which is an expression used when something happens at exactly the right moment, is reminiscent of a time when the nation’s poor only had beans for meals. Enjoy! Don’t say “Buona fortuna” (Good luck). When you come “at the bean,” you come at a time when food is served. Do you want to really sound like an Italian? The fact that it has an English equivalent suggests that this sentiment is part of human nature, a universal expression of discontent. Your Italian boyfriend broke up with you? They’ll probably be saying, “Diciamo pane al pane e vino al vino.”. One of the best parts of learning a foreign languag e is laughing at literal translations. Taking inspiration from our previous post about 25 English idioms, here is a list of idioms in Italian that can help you with breaking the ice (or, rompere il ghiccio, if you’re in Italy) in your everyday conversation, as well as not panicking when they are used by Italians: 1. Idioms are little peeks into the history, beliefs and traditions of the language that they carry. Aiutati che Dio t’aiuta. Trastevere Streets Eats (Rome Street Food Tour). And Bianchi, the world’s first bicycle company, established in the 1880s, is still churning out two-wheelers today. So if you hear this said of you, take it as a high compliment. So watch out when you visit Italia. “Avere le braccine corte” doesn’t refer to the T-rex, whose arms were literally short. Use it to express annoyance or irritation at a situation or person. This Italian expression means every little thing counts. “Ha molto sale in zucca” refers to a person who has a good head—someone not only bright, but one who possesses a lot of good sense. Yes, Italians feel it, too, the envy and longing for what others have. - Bonnie Bedelia 18. If you liked this post, something tells me that you'll love FluentU, the best way to learn Italian with real-world videos. Headquarters 235 Harrison Street Mail Drop #22 Syracuse, NY 13202 USA +1-315-463-7323 This idiom literally translates to “beastly physique.” And from here, it’s actual, idiomatic meaning might be easily gathered: it is a compliment for someone with a well-toned, worked-out body. Required fields are marked *. Amber lived in Italy for a decade before relocating back to the States to go to school at Columbia University. I can handle this.”. Example: Keep your store open and your pants up! And for the hungry peasant, that’s as perfect a time as there is! The Roman Past in Fascist Italy. s dog cold!) So the Italian version wins this one, what with all the perks of a golden retirement. Speak like a real Italian with these hilarious Italian expressions and idioms that you’ll hear on the “strada” and in the “piazza”. It is a reminder that it’s better when things happen late, but still happen, rather than not happening at all. All this being said, why don’t we proceed to the next section and look more closely at some interesting Italian idioms? You are never to set foot in her house again!”) Human nature works like magic and the teen found herself mysteriously gravitating towards grandma’s house just to watch TV. Anybody can pick up an Italian app and learn the meaning of individual words. An employee, student or even a friend can betray another. Idioms “sex up” speech; they make it colorful and picturesque, funny and whacky. “Un pezzo grosso” is synonymous to the English idiom “big shot” or “big wig,” usually referring to somebody of high importance or someone who wields strong influence over the whole. So you don’t make a fuss about it. Literally this idiom means in English: To pass with the cavalry. (No, you’re not really “killing two birds with one stone,” but hey, you already know what that means.). Don’t worry, there are plenty of fish in the sea. 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