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https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole

Italian idioms

paroleparole
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You learned the italian idioms skill but you want more? Don't worry 'cause I found more of these silly nonsensical sentences! :)

  1. Italians don’t “play dumb”… they “do the dead cat” (Fare la gatta morta).

  2. Italians aren’t “wasted”… they are “drunk as a monkey” (Ubriaco come una scimmia).

  3. Italians don’t “scold” somebody… they “shave against the growth” (Fare il contropelo).

  4. Italians don’t “disrespect”… they “treat you with fishes in your face” (Trattare a pesci in faccia).

  5. Italians don’t “have a bee in one’s bonnet”… they “have a fixed nail in one’s head” (Avere un chiodo fisso in testa).

  6. Italians don’t “arouse somebody’s doubts”… they “put a flea in the ear” (Mettere la pulce nell’orecchio).

  7. Italians don’t “do it with hands tied behind the back”… they “jump ditches the long way” (Saltare I fossi per il lungo).

  8. Italians don’t say “it rains cats and dogs”… they say “it rains from washbasins” (Piovere a catinelle).

  9. Italians don’t say “well cooked”… they say “cooked to the small point” (Cotto a puntino).

  10. Italians don’t say “not the sharpest tool in the box”… they say “merry goose” (Oca giuliva).

  11. Italians don’t “take things too far”… they “pull the rope” (Tirare la corda).

  12. Italians aren’t “fidgety”… they “have live silver on themselves”(Avere argento vivo addosso).

  13. Italians aren’t “dumbfounded”… they “remain as stucco” (Rimanerci di stucco).

  14. Italians don’t “keep their mouth shut”… they have “water in the mouth” (Acqua in bocca).

  15. Italians don’t “go to bed early”… they “go to bed with the chickens” (Andare a letto con le galline).

  16. Italians don’t “sleep like a log”… they “sleep like a dormouse” (Dormire come un ghiro).

  17. Italians are not “out of their mind”… they are “outside as a balcony” (Fuori come un balcone). =my favourite :D

  18. Italians don’t “bite the hand that feeds them”… they “spit in the plate they eat from” (Sputare nel piatto dove si mangia).

  19. Italians don’t say “it’s the last straw”… they say “the drop that made the vase overflow” (La goccia che ha fatto traboccare il vaso).

3 years ago

72 Comments


https://www.duolingo.com/m.tastic
m.tastic
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Interesting :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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glad you like it!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Lexi_Paloma
Lexi_Paloma
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Mi piace molto! Veoma zanimljiv post, hvala što si ovo objavila. Pozdrav :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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Nema na čemu, naletela sam na netu pa reko' da podelim :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Mazzorano
Mazzorano
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Thanks, I just love idioms.....

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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you're welcome!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/het_aapje
het_aapje
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Literally cant wait to tell someone that they are fuori come un balcone :')

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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Yeah, me too! I hope it's not too offensive.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Paolo_IT

Quite funny, actually. :-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/sps1919

Thanks for sharing

;)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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you're welcome!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TheGandalf
TheGandalf
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I believe "live silver" refers to quicksilver, another term for mercury, which can make you go crazy.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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Interesting information, thanks!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/adityahadi

Grazie mille ... I just know about the 'acqua in bocca', although i often see the celebration of Juventus' player in this idiom.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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Forza la Juve! :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/adityahadi

Hahaa ... So you're a juvedonna !! :D

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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Sì, sono Juventina :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Erkte
Erkte
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20 Italians don't say "To get a crush on someone"... they say "To get cooked for someone" (Prendersi una cotta per qualcuno). #9 could be used for someone who has been totally "cooked" :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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E per esempio "cotto innamorato"? :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Erkte
Erkte
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"Innamorato cotto" is just the same or a little stronger than plain "Innamorato". Oh, on the same subject there's also "Colpo di fulmine (Bolt of lightning)" = "Love at first sight" ;)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wizard7010

Actually, we don not say "innamorato cotto". Or "innamorato" or "cotto". The second one is more gergal and it is "stronger than "innamorato". :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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I knew that one. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/valeiltale
valeiltale
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Il tuo post spacca! (It's very cool!)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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Grazie! Non è davvero mio, l'ho trovato su internet e ho deciso di condividerlo con voi.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/swampsparrow
swampsparrow
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Thank you for posting these. A couple of them are used in the US, too. Someone who went to bed early was going to bed with the chickens. We said that a lot in my family, some members of which were rural. "A flea in someone's ear" meant something slightly different to us, more like a scolding.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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I suppose it didn't spread in US. I use 8, 15, 18 and 19.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/myselfandi

German also has a similar "flea"-idiom with a quite different meaning. "Don't put a flea in his ear" means don't start him on that stupid idea. The chicken analogy is more used for waking up early instead of going to bed.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Elleasar
Elleasar
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Grazie mille! Molto divertente! I enjoyed reading all those idioms and it's very funny how different languages say things in a different way.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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Prego! :) I agree!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Italian.Ice
Italian.Ice
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Actually, number 1, "Fare la gatta morta" is used to describe someone who seems to be innocent in front of others, but in reality is a bad person. This is kind of a difficult phrase to translate, especially when you grew up using it, so hopefully my explanation makes sense. I guess it is kind of like the equivalent of a back-stabber too.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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I found too that "fare la gatta morta" is someone who pretends to be a saint. :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/allebasi78

In Italy it is an idiom also "play dumb" - finto tondo- That is a person who pretends to be stupid not to have problems. "Do the dead cat" - fare la gatta morta-. Means a woman which seems good and quiet but instead is aggressive and evil.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Italian.Ice
Italian.Ice
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Yes! That's the definition I was looking for! Thanks!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JingF1
JingF1
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Very interesting, thanks for sharing! In Chinese we also say “it rains from washbasins” (倾盆大雨). :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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You're welcome! If you can, please do translate for us the most interesting chinese idiom!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/JingF1
JingF1
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I don't think there's a good place to start a thread about Chinese idioms, so I'll just translate a few here:

"The third wheel" is "the light bulb" (电灯泡) in Chinese, because couples like to do things in darkness and the light bulb ruins it. XD

In Chinese there's an idiom similar to "spill the beans": "pour the beans out of a bamboo tube" (竹筒倒豆子). But it doesn't necessarily mean giving out a secret. It just means telling something in detail or telling the entire story.

"Black sheep" is roughly equivalent to "a horse that harms the herd" (害群之马) in Chinese. But "black sheep" usually refers to someone in a family, while 害群之马 can be in any group.

"Apple of one's eye" is "a pearl on one's palm" (掌上明珠) in Chinese, usually referring to one's child.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Italian.Ice
Italian.Ice
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The light bulb one is hilarious! Thanks for sharing!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chuckstarrrr

"a pearl on one's palm" is my favourite :-) Thanks for sharing :-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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You're welcome!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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Nice, thanks! :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Jollystr

Fabulous stuff - it made me giggle

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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glad you like it!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/t_s_c
t_s_c
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I made a memrise course for these here (http://www.memrise.com/course/652097/20-or-so-italian-idioms/). I corrected the first one to be "act like a saint" and added "Finto tondo" as "play dumb"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chuckstarrrr

Very cool, thanks :)

Not cool, the person who down voted this.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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thank you very much!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/necronudist85

Italians don’t “play dumb”… they “do the dead cat” (Fare la gatta morta).

This usually means a girl who seems innocent but behaves like a wh... you know?

Italians aren’t “wasted”… they are “drunk as a monkey” (Ubriaco come una scimmia).

Never heard.

Italians don’t “scold” somebody… they “shave against the growth” (Fare il contropelo).

Or, more common, "fare pelo e contropelo".

Italians don’t “do it with hands tied behind the back”… they “jump ditches the long way” (Saltare I fossi per il lungo).

That's old, maybe my grandpa used it. Maybe.

Italians don’t say “it rains cats and dogs”… they say “it rains from washbasins” (Piovere a catinelle).

Or, more up-to-date, "piove che Dio la manda" (it rains so much, and God keeps sending it. Something like that. Or maybe it rains so much that seems like it's coming directly from God). Piovere a catinelle is mainly linked with the proverbial "Cielo a pecorelle, pioggia a catinelle".

Italians aren’t “fidgety”… they “have live silver on themselves”(Avere argento vivo addosso).

This one's pretty old, too. It's one of the epressions mocked by Elio e Le Storie Tese in their song Supergiovane as old people slang. But I don't know what fidgety means so I can't help.

Italians don’t “keep their mouth shut”… they have “water in the mouth” (Acqua in bocca).

And we will be "mute as a fish" (muto come un pesce).

Italians are not “out of their mind”… they are “outside as a balcony” (Fuori come un balcone). =my favourite :D

Man, so 90s... almost every expression you've listed sounds pretty old btw.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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Hm, I'm confused now... If you know all this stuff why didn't you make post about idioms? As you can see, everyone here is just waiting to learn something new, so, I don't know what are you waiting for? Please, share with us your knowledge! :)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chuckstarrrr

fidgety = unable to sit still

Imagine Roberto Benigni's character, Guido, in Life is Beautiful, attempting to watch a serious play. I could never imagine him sitting still, just forever fidgeting.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/seckhoff

These are great. There's a French/English translation joke book called "Sky! My Husband!" (Ciel! Mon Mari!). It's very funny because it translates French phrases literally. Is there anything like it in Italian?

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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I don't know really...it would be: "Cielo! Mio Marito!"

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/wizard7010

I confirm! Perfect translation.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/kmacv22
kmacv22
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cool thanks

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jkrauseno
jkrauseno
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Cool stuff, grazie mille!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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Prego!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/MichaelKempton

Awesome Grazie mille!!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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you're welcome!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/jayness

Can Duolingo add these to the existing Idioms section? Would be great to learn. :-)

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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I don't know if they can do that. In that case, someone needs to check everything 'cause first one apparently isn't correct.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/TanviKul

Very interesting!!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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Yeah, pretty interesting sutff these idioms.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/OHHHHTHATSABINGO

Do they feed the chicken when they are in bed. Don't want it getting hungry!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/14mitchella

Interesting....and very funny :D

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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Yeah, they are definitely the treasure of the language!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/AdriannaB2002

im a pure italian and i dont speak very well lol

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/Chuckstarrrr

I'm half Italian (mother's side) and my knowledge of the language is poor. I've been too happy existing in my English bubble, even though I was surrounded by Italian speakers whilst growing up.

Never mind, I'm putting that right now :D

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/angie11bracco

seguami

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/anglumar

Thanks!, It´s going to help me a lot.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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You're welcome!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/toussaintlou
toussaintlou
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Number three made coffee come out of my nose. That's just too funny (and true).

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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glad you like it!

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/bravissimo641

Excellent and very helpful. Thank you.

3 years ago

https://www.duolingo.com/paroleparole
paroleparole
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You're welcome!

2 years ago