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Over 2000 Italian Idiomatic Expressions

Some of the old timers here may remember me posting a link to my Idiomatic Expressions course a few years ago > https://forum.duolingo.com/comment/10484257

Well, the course has been steadily growing and is now at over 2000 expressions. Here's a sample of some of the more difficult terms like "mica":

C'è mica Michela? — Is Michelle there by any chance?

Non sono mica scemo — It's not like I'm an idiot

Non è mica colpa tua — It's not like it's your fault

È soltanto la ❤❤❤❤❤ dell'iceberg — That's only the tip of the iceberg

All of these have audio from natives speakers. If you feel like these could help your study check it out. If you decide to give it a try; Mi raccomando, Allacciate le cinture!



January 12, 2019



Congratulations on your list and thanks for sharing it!

I hate to be pedantic, but mica is not really considered an idiom.
In Latin mica is a noun, it means a breadcrumb; in Italian, though, this is a negative adverb (similar in meaning to affatto), which strengthens emphatically a negation.
Although the origin of the word is actually idiomatic (a breadcrumb is the smallest part of bread → "(not + verb) in the slightest degree, in the least way"), with its use as an adverb, the average speaker's perception of such figurative meaning is now completely lost.

I'll take a look at your very extensive list.
Hopefully, I can help to lengthen it with a little contribution.

January 12, 2019


Great! Thanks for that explanation! That's something I didn't know, and makes a lot of sense. By all means, feel free to take a look and provide any feedback.

And Yes, of course you're right, mica is not an idiom. Not all the expressions are idiomatic in a strict sense. Rather, they are idiomatic in the 2nd sense that you'll see here.

To elaborate a little on that point, the translations are intended to be as idiomatic as possible. So, to give an example, let's imagine you're playing a game with your friends. In English you might say things like: "Whose turn is it?", "It's your turn." Etc.

While you could translate these expressions as: "Di chi e' il turno?", "E' il tuo turno." Ecc. These are not idiomatic translations, rather the idiomatic translations would be: "A chi tocca?", "Tocca a te." Ecc. This course strives for the closest idiomatic expressions to help learn the language, not just direct translations. Occasionally, this may also mean that reverse expressions are used with the most suitable translations that could be found.

January 12, 2019


It's a very good list. Right Civis Romanus, mica is not an idiom but directly from latin. Any words (few, in truth) are from dialects, not idioms (mannaggia = accidenti in napoletano) and in Italy there are many dialects, that has little to do with Italian (but with catalan, french, spanish, greek, arab, german etc etc ... true italian is the Tuscan dialect (from Dante A., that used it in the "Divina Commedia). Sorry if i was too pedantic. Bye

January 13, 2019


Giusto per mettere il puntino sulla i...
La mica è (anche) un minerale,secondo alcuni studiosi la parola deriva da mica, che significa briciola, con allusione al fatto che le lamelle sono lucenti e si sfaldano.
La muscovite è tra le miche comuni. :-P

January 13, 2019


Thank you Rafforza, that was a lot of work and it is greatly appreciated. Do you know how can I grow another brain so I can memorize all that? :-D

January 13, 2019


Hahah, Più di tanto non si può fare! Personally, I just let it wash over me and see what sticks haha

I notice that audio helps a lot! with memory (especially naturally spoken audio from natives). That's why almost everything has audio. Thanks though, yeah it's probably more than 4 years of work

January 13, 2019


Well, I'll try "wash over me" method. It will be difficult with a non stick coated brain. :-D

January 13, 2019


Good Luck :D

January 13, 2019


What a dad

January 15, 2019


Two expressions from the level 3 («Va e viene») also appear in the level 32 («Fino alla fine»):

  • Fa venire
  • Che rimanga tra noi
June 9, 2019
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