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2023-06-21 13:45:16

15 Italian phrases that vividly reveal the characteristics of local residents

15 Italian phrases that vividly reveal the characteristics of local residents

The Italian language is famous for many idioms and proverbs that can tell a lot about the peculiarities of this culture. Some of them are related to cooking, which is not surprising, given that Italy is famous for its cuisine all over the world. Many Italian phrases are difficult to translate into foreign languages due to the peculiar context and wordplay, which makes them unique.

In bocca al lupo — "in the mouth of the wolf"

In bocca al lupo is a phrase meaning " in the mouth of a wolf" and is used to wish good luck. The phrase comes from a theatrical environment where wishing good luck could lead to failure. The actors believed that if you wish for failure, then, on the contrary, you will succeed. Today, In bocca al lup" is used in different situations, and the correct answer to it is Crepi il lupo (let the wolf die), not Grazie (thank you).

Tutto fa brodo – "everything is suitable for chowder"

Another funny phrase is Tutto fa brodo, which means "everything is suitable for chowder." It is used to mean that any help is always useful, as well as a variety of ingredients that make the soup tastier. This phrase can be translated as "any help will come in handy."

Dalle stelle alle stalle — "from the stars to the stall"

This expression is used to describe the transition from a good situation to a bad one. It usually refers to the transition of a state of wealth and comfort into poverty. 

Fare la gatta morta – "behave like a dead cat"

The idiom describes the behavior of a person who tries to dodge responsibility or look helpless, defenseless in order to avoid punishment or problems. Usually, this behavior is criticized for its cunning and insincerity.

Fa un freddo cane — "the cold of the dog"

The meaning of the expression means severe cold. Nowadays, dogs often live in houses with their people, however, they used to always live in yards, guarding agriculture. "Dog cold" is such a frost from which even hardened street dogs froze.

Prendere in giro — "lead astray"

An expression that describes a situation where someone mocks or mocks another person, misleading them. This is usually done with the intention of harming or humiliating another person.

Avere le mani in pasta – "hands mixed into the dough"

A saying describes a situation where someone has a connection or relationship to something. Usually, this expression is used in relation to those who deal with dishonest or questionable practices, may indicate involvement in illegal actions.

Vai a quel paese – "go away"

This expression is used to show dissatisfaction or anger towards someone. It is usually used in the context of a situation where a person wants to get rid of someone who is disturbing or inconvenient.

Buono come il pane – "good as bread"

A compliment that is commonly used to describe people who have a kind and generous character. In Italy, bread is an important and valuable food, and the expression " good as bread" reflects the importance of this product for culture and society.

Pesci in faccia - "a blow to the face by a fish"

Among the funny Italian expressions are Pesci in faccia - "a blow to the face with a fish." This expression is used to describe an insult and a very bad attitude towards a person. They compare it to the fact that they whipped a dead fish in the face.

Qualcosa bolle in pentola — "is something cooking?"

Another interesting expression is Qualcosa bolle in pentola, translated directly as "is something cooking?". It is used to express curiosity and ask what is happening or what has happened.

 Un pezzo grosso — "big piece"

Un pezzo grosso is an Italian expression that is used to refer to an important person or significant person.

Una persona in gamba — "standing on his feet"

Una persona in gamba is an idiom that describes someone who is balanced and has a purposeful character. He keeps his affairs under control and adheres to clear rules in work and in relationships. This is the antipode of a person who cannot stand on his feet and often falls.

Buonanotte al secchio – "good night, bucket"

It is a phrase that is said when the person is not able to understand the explanation and it is easier for him to end the conversation. Its origin is due to the fact that the bucket on the rope was used to draw water from the well: saying goodbye to it involves breaking the rope, and the bucket falls so that it can no longer be reached.

Piove sul bagnato – "rain on the wet"

This expression is used to describe a situation where an already unpleasant situation is exacerbated. This expression reflects the idea that trouble does not come alone.

And what idioms and common phrases from the your language are your favorite, vivid and accurate?

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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