"Olio di gomito"

Translation:Elbow grease

December 19, 2013

134 Comments

Sorted by top post

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/katazap

What... just what does this mean?

December 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tikidog

Wikipedia:

Elbow grease is an idiom for working hard at manual labour, as in "You need to use some elbow grease." It is a humorous reflection of the fact that some tasks can only be achieved by hard effort and human energy, contrasting with the idea that there should be some special oil, tool or chemical product to make the job easier.

Edit: Castille360's explanation is better.

December 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TomekDolenec

when i saw the english translation "elbow grease" it didn't mean nothnig to me...

In my opinion "getting hands dirty" is more widely used and for me it seems similar

June 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dlung1

I've been using the expression elbow grease for 50 years.

December 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Iruxka

Yes, for me too that sentence mean nothing, and in russian we said "getting hands dirty" too or "need to sweat", I think it is more simple for the mind.

September 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/1856Roscoa

to be frank with you all saying sentences like "I know but we don't say that in our language" or "we don't say that in some other language" is quite pointless. This is not Russian, or German, or any other language. This is Italian.

January 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Iruxka

This is not about pointlessness of comments. It's very interesting how much different expressions in different countries, an understanding of this difference is helping to understand more another culture and history, construction of language, people humor and so on. Don't you agree?

January 19, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/NoahS2003

Guys, this course assumes you already know English. Knowing English means knowing its idioms.

August 14, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/remy55

That's right, when I think on hard work, I just going back to bed and forget about this thoughts. XD Lazy culture. But more seriously in hebrew there are three common phrase to say one's working hard, the first probably has translate from english which 1. is roll the sleeves up. the second is sweat like a donkey ( donkey considered insult in hebrew and also has ancient meaning in term of working) and the thirt is to 3. tear the (Censured). So yeah, it's really interesting.

April 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ull-kull

In Denmark we use "knofedt" which means "knuckle grease" - and as others have said: of course it means hard work, but there is also some humor in it like: "Oh, what is the secret of getting that thing to shine like that?!" "Woo hoo just a little bit of magic and a lot of knuckle grease!!"

June 7, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/PeterC93

We have the exact same idiom in English!!!

December 19, 2013

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nullusaum

No Ellbogenöl in German, though. Can't speak for other languages.

January 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ChristianF849984

there is "muskelschmalz" in german

March 10, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/benroc

Same in French "huile de coude"

November 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AlessandroGagnor

Not in Portuguese, and I suppose not also in Spanish. It would sound as some natural skin oil, on the skin, not inside the elbow's mechanism.

August 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Calbr

I don´t think we have any similar in Brazilian portuguese.

March 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LeonardoMendel

isso aqui foi "no braço" / "no muque" ?

March 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/reginadel

já ouvi a expressão "colocar óleo nas juntas" rsrs

September 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dinapolis

"elbow grease" indica mais especificamente que é um trabalho repetitivo. "No braço" quer dizer apenas que é manual, mas é mais genérico. Alguém deu um bom exemplo ali embaixo, encerar o chão, porque é uma atividade repetitiva. Não acho que tenha um equivalente exato em português.

December 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/andre.coser

Acho que essa expressão pelo que entendi diz que esse olio di gomito seria mais a #solução do trabalho repetitivo# do que o trabalho repetitivo em si.

February 21, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ClaudioAra83158

Também não consigo imaginar. Temos verbos e expressões para esforço (ralar, suar, dar o sangue), mas não com a conotação de esforço físico repetitivo.

October 18, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Calbr

Pode ser...

April 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/edeneden

I think of "Foi suado"

July 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/B4ndre

"Cebo nas canelas" ;D

May 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BahadirGurcan

Something with onions :)

May 14, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dscamelo

Mão na massa.

March 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AndreeaSanda

probably because it's translated from English! I've never heard of this idiom before...

February 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mayeshwari

can you please tell us how is this idiom in english?

February 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/castille360

For example - If I buff my wood floors until they shine, what did I use to get them to shine so well? Elbow grease. (My own physical effort.) While it comes from tasks that would involve repetitive arm movements like that, it may be used in situation that involves human exertion to get something done. "We can get this job done in no time with enough elbow grease!"

February 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tikidog

This explanation is better than the Wikipedia explanation which I quoted.

February 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Mayeshwari

great !! I got it !! graze mille!

February 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MattPotter4

You grease joints, and moving parts (and doors gates etc) that you need to work well and efficiently--otherwise the seize up. Elbow grease means you are working as hard (efficiently) as you are able

March 16, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellis930361

Just to let you know, it's a very well used term that basically means "put some more effort into it" or " try a little harder." For instance, if I was scrubbing the bathtub with all the chemicals I could find and it still wasn't working, I would use a little 'elbow grease' (aka scrub harder) to get it clean. It's not literal grease. :)

October 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tamara.a.r

Algo similar en español podría ser "con el sudor de mi frente" literally translated in english would mean: with my own forehead sweat.

April 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Donna_Diana

The English idiom most like "el sudor de mi frente" would be "by the sweat of my brow." But I don't hear this actually used in English much, not as much as "elbow grease."

November 22, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/sofocle

It's true, but Duolingo segnala nelle frasi idiomatiche inglesi ( forse più americane) il termine "elbow grease" = olio di gomito.

January 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piamgo

In German we also have similar saying: im Schweiße meines Angesichts. Literally: in sweat my face“--funny. This is why one-to-one translation doesn't work.

July 28, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/moreno174

con il (col) sudore della fronte...yes :-)

April 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Max_Meade

Is this actually an Italian idiom, or is it just an English idiom translated into Italian?

February 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GenevieveMaynard

It is an Italian idiom.

April 8, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tikidog

Good question. But to be fair, it could be an Italian idiom which was translated into English!

February 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Max_Meade

I suppose you're right. I would like to know, regardless.

March 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ellis930361

Here in America we use it all the time.

October 23, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/langman.

I confirm as italian ✌

November 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VonBec01

Two or three brawny Fellows in a Corner, with meer Ink and Elbow-grease, do more Harm than an Hundred systematical Divines with their sweaty Preaching.

This is from 1672..... it wasn't recorded in french till the late 1800s'. I can't find an Italian version that is earlier!

May 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VonBec01

P.s. He was an English writer called Andrew Marvell ( 1621-1678)

May 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BlackSea

According to this website, it is, but I also think it's an English import...

http://www.lifeinitaly.com/italian/idioms

March 12, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Zefrogue

"Huile de coude" in French...

March 14, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmirMTQ

عرق جبین، دود شمع خوردن In persian

June 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/parya2

Hi ! I am happy to see you here

June 17, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmirMTQ

It's so nice to see such comments

June 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vega.marle

Hi. can you teach me your lenguaje I'II love it!

September 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/AmirMTQ

It's an honor for me to help you. Where are you from?

September 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Milaena

I spent 30 lingots for idioms like this

September 30, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/langman.

xD hahaha but this is real idiom

November 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KateFH

literally translated this means oil of the elbow - so why mark it wrong when there has been no explanation of common idioms etc!

January 26, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Jenny_Kling

Likely because you're taking this course in English, so it's assumed (apparently incorrectly) that you're familiar with English idioms.

May 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Asfodela

Yes, that is why is so hard to me, I'm a spanish native speaker.

June 29, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jesslc

Well this is an (optional) section entirely on idioms... if you're not familiar with english idioms, it's bound to be very hard.

November 5, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/claudia.es1

It's a concept that has been used before. For example, cheese sandwich= panino al/con formaggio. formaggio is used as an adjective. In english it is used before the noun, in italian after the noun. In this case, gomito is used as an adjective describing the type of grease, meaning that it is used after the noun, olio. And in english before the noun, therefore, elbow grease.

July 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TobyBartels

It usually accepts literal translations for these idioms, at least for the other languages that I've tried.

August 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/crumplehorn

I found it here - which seems to confirm that it is an Italian idiom... http://dizionari.corriere.it/dizionario-modi-di-dire/O/olio.shtml

March 4, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marifka

There is nothing like this in Poland I guess. Interesting...

February 24, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/juju199712345

I have a good one in french: à la sueur de son front

May 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/vega.marle

Like Spanish "con el sudor de tu frente"

September 27, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/TobyBartels

This is why I like Italian food: oil, not grease.

August 1, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ken364727

「骨折り仕事」

直訳では「肘に潤滑油を」非常にnative寄りの表現できつい仕事、ないし力仕事を指します

August 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VikingBoat

Com o suor da minha frente, in Portuguese

November 2, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/19Sara87

It means to work very hard

March 2, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Kauheeta

In Finnish we say "roll up your sleeves". That is a straight translation in English.

February 5, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/doctor_ewhoktin

I THOUGHT IT WAS GREASE ABOUT ELBOW FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!

October 25, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Rewsen4

Has this made anyone think about an episode in Rick and Morty season three where Beth says "you're supposed to put elbow grease into your daughter Rick"
-"gross"

November 29, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Sandeepshetty

What is the point in having "di"

February 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DylanSkusek

It literally means "of", so it would be "grease of elbow" would be the literal translation. "Di" gives the origin of said object.

February 23, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/tekfan

If you suggest "grease" as a correct solution, you should include this word as part of the list of possible translation when hovering over "olio."

March 6, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ariaflame

No. Because the hover things are not question specific, and therefore are not always good for idioms. The english idiom is Elbow grease, the Italian idiom is oil of the elbow, it does not therefore follow that duolingo associated the word 'olio' with the word 'grease'. Unless you're unlucky this is the idiom topic, and you can't do word for word translations of idioms.

March 15, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/mrcurtis.english

I found the definition of the word 'grease' to be 'any oily or fatty matter'. So, since oil is, by definition, oily it must therefore also be grease. In other words, oil and grease must be synonymous so 'olio' can be translated to 'grease'.

In other words - yep, that seems about right.

March 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ntkonn

Grease is thick, like a paste. An oil that is so thick that it will not pour is called grease. If the oil is thin enough to pour, then it's just called oil. "Elbow grease" is an idiom, it simply is never expressed as "elbow oil".

July 17, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/djhickling

Could someone use the italian version in a sentence please?

March 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/MakedaG

Is this an idiom that is used in Italy or did I just add a lesson on American idioms translated literally into Italian?

May 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/IraRepik

Does anyone know how this idiom is said in Russian language? Thanks in advance.

July 11, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/KristaVoge

I do not know the Russian for "elbow crease" but for the other idiom discussed here - "by the sweat of his brow", French "à la sueur de son front", the Russian version would be "в поте лица своего". Estonian also has the same expression (i.e. with "sweat" and "face" involved. "Elbow grease" seems to be more of a rarity, Estonian has an obsolete idiom literally "with the steam of one's bones" for going somewhere by foot for want of a vehicle (such as a steam-engine).

July 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Yulia_Shch

I think it should be "тяжкий труд", the closest to idiom structure i can think about

November 7, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/DIEnosaurKyo

just how many times do I need to repeat it before I can finally get past it, it keeps saying I'm doing it wrong.

August 18, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/RoxSatya

Is there anyone from holland who can help me out with a translation (as I don't know if there is any similar expression in my language)? Thanks!

August 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Voldydin

This is the sixth time spending for elbow grease. I was hoping to learn more idioms than a mere handful.

August 31, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/margaritaguese

Can someone use this in a sentence please?

September 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Marion_Giu

In caserma: il sergente: "lucida quella baionetta soldato!" il soldato: "come faccio? È arrugginita!" il sergente: "usa olio di gomito, ragazzo!" Can you translate it in English?

January 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Donna_Diana

How's this? "Shine that bayonet soldier! The soldier: "How do I do it? It's rusted!" The sargeant: "Use elbow grease, boy!" Did I get it right! :)

January 6, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SheniHamit

I write " oil of elbow" and it marks it wrong

October 13, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/marlou.van

in Dutch this does not excist. Difficult for beginners!

November 19, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BoodaKamal

Thanks for the clarification guys

December 25, 2014

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ardiealonzo

I wrote 'oil with elbow' and it's wrong. Lol -_-

January 10, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/enilevkay

I guess it's "pegar no pesado" in Brazilian Portuguese. Any thoughts?

February 9, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nouralyona

We have similar in Ukraine

February 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Br.Raphael

I said "Elbow Grease" because it made more sense to me. But would "Grease from Elbow" work? Just curious

March 7, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/VonBec01

Q

May 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/BahadirGurcan

Alın teri in Turkish

May 13, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/soniya1992

خرحمالی

June 15, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Shilun.Zhan

In Chinese it would be "搬砖" xD.

June 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Wandan3

Not really lol

June 20, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/shell-bell1

What does the 'di' mean?

July 18, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/piamgo

Could someone please make a sentence with “olio di gomito“? I have no clue what so ever how to use this idiom. Thank you!

August 1, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Bardmex77

This one sounds in spanish like "smells like puke" kind of confusing

September 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ShioAlineG

How do they use it on a task?

October 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ariaflame

It's an idiom, it's not literal grease, it means 'put effort into it'

October 25, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/bellunoman

Ive heard the expression.....but whats the actual translation for "grease"? The phrase uses the word gor oil, for some reason....

October 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ariaflame

Grease is a lubricant, not quite a liquid, think a bit like lard or similar. Since both oil and grease are used to lubricate things I think that's where the match is. The literal translation of grease into Italian is 'grosso' or 'lubrificante' but you can't always translate idioms literally.

Grease or lubricant of some sort can be used when you want to reduce friction and say, push a heavy object. Here the 'oil of elbow' is basically saying 'use effort as your way to get it moving'

October 30, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Paradisaeidae01

I got that right by elimination. Honest answer. That was a odd phrase.

December 26, 2015

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/hdincer

In english translation 'hard work' should be correct then. Why does is expect a translatio which does not mean in english

January 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dlung1

But it does have meaning in English. In fact, just last night I saw the expression used in the December issue of Consumers Report, (a national magazine with a circulation in the millions.) In discussing a certain product, it said you have to put put a lot of elbow grease into it. It means hard physical work. This is a very well known and much used idiom in the US. I don't know about other parts of the English speaking world. Since this is a lesson on idioms, I was quite pleased to find out that Italian has the same idiom as English. Since English is not your native language, I realize that it makes it a little harder for you, but on the bright side, you got twice as much for the money, as you just learned one idiom that's good for two different languages.

January 2, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Tyler_Norman

It is used in the UK too.

April 26, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/ricardolbritto

I think the best translation to portuguese is " suar a camisa" that, in a raw translation to english, would be " get your t-shirt sweated"

April 1, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Barbaros891375

There is a similar idiom in Turkish to rot the elbow "dirsek çürütmek" means working hard

April 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Barbaros891375

There is a similar idiom in Turkish but it means studying hard than working

April 30, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cleber442666

o que significa em português

May 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/dlung1

Significa trabalho duro.

May 17, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Cleber442666

grazie !

May 18, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GerardoAva3

Io non capisco... Grazie Ariaflame

May 24, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Ariaflame

I think you meant 'Io non capisco' - I don't understand.

May 25, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/5Gloria

what does that mean?

June 6, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/nuria523748

In Spanish we say: clavar los codos.

August 31, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chenhaoy

a ha grazie

October 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/LuL876761

In Brazilian Portuguese we have "arregaçar as mangas" meaning literally "roll up the sleeves" our version of elbow sweat lol

November 5, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SinanCanYucel

Dunno what use it has to just repeat idioms that would no way make a sense to you unless looked them up on net. Meaningless and just waste of money.

November 10, 2016

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/Caio648919

I think that would mean "Dar o braço a torcer" in Brazilian Portuguese.

January 12, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/CarolinaGeeretha

So it means working hard?

January 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/jeka19216

no pain no gain

February 22, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/remy55

I really don't understand why doulingo can't add an hint to help us understand the meaning of this phrase.

April 13, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/JosPatioRo

yeah but the translation should be the equivalent in english right, the literal translation may be pointless

June 15, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/chrkaatz

WCW str ft

July 8, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SebastinDa845969

We don't have any similar in Spanish

August 26, 2017

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/GaryLee487069

why put di into the sentence

January 4, 2018

https://www.duolingo.com/profile/SusanneVan543939

What the heck is elbow grease? Such in Dutch ' butter on your head'.

January 20, 2018
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