5 common Italian idioms

Profile PictureFlag
Federica イタリア語
2016年8月4日
2500
2分
Cover Photo

What do you think the following expressions mean in the Italian language? Test yourself and try to guess!

  1. Lui è un pezzo da novanta
  2. Oggi siamo quattro gatti
  3. Maria è una ragazza acqua e sapone
  4. Vorrei proprio tagliare la corda da questo posto
  5. In questo periodo sono al verde

Allora, com’è andata? So, how did it go?

I know it's hard, because idioms tend to confuse those unfamiliar with them!

So, why learn them? Since idioms are influenced by the culture, learning them can be useful in understanding everyday life in Italy.


Let's analyze the following expressions:


  1. Lui è un pezzo da novanta

The first part of the phrase is easy to understand ("He is"). But, what about “pezzo da novanta”? The literal meaning is “He is a piece of ninety". Well... this translation doesn't really help clarify the idiom's true meaning, because an idiomatic expression is different from the literal meaning. There are thousands of idioms, and they occur frequently in all languages. The Italian language is full of them too.

"Lui è un pezzo da novanta" means that he is a powerful person, someone with big influence. The term appears to come from the mafia environment.

Remember: Essere un pezzo da novanta = to be a powerful person


  1. Oggi siamo quattro gatti

Sound weird? Well, you’re right, it does, how can anyone literally be a cat? When one uses this expression, one wants to say that in the place where they are, there are only a few people. The above phrase means that "today we are a handful of people" and not "today we are four cats".

Remember: Essere quattro gatti = to be a handful of people


  1. Maria è una ragazza acqua e sapone

Is it possible to be water and soap? So, what does it mean in the Italian language? Its actual meaning is a girl that is naturally beautiful, and doesn't need makeup. Therefore, Maria is the girl next door, natural and fresh faced.

Remember: Essere acqua e sapone = to be the girl next door, natural, fresh faced


  1. Vorrei proprio tagliare la corda da questo posto

Literally, “tagliare la corda” means to physically cut the cord and the translation of the above phrase is “I really would like to cut the cord from this place”. This is a common Italian idiom used when someone wants to run away from the place he or she is. Another example is “Ha tagliato la corda prima che la polizia potesse prenderlo” and the meaning is "He ran away before the police could catch him".

Remember: Tagliare la corda = to run away


  1. In questo periodo sono al verde

The colour green, verde in Italian language, is the colour of money. The literal meaning of this phrase is “in this period I’m in the green”. However, contrary to what you might think, this expression is used when someone is without money. It can be compared to the English version of “to be penniless” or “to be broke”.

Remember: Essere al verde = to be broke


I hope you had fun! Idioms can be enlightening!

イタリア語 Tutor Federica
$30.00-34.00
USD/h

Federica

Flag
(664)
Flag イタリア語
イタリア
1,011
イタリア語
ネイティブ
,
スペイン語
C2
,
英語
C2
,
フランス語
B1
,
中国語
A2
Ciao a tutti! I teach Italian language TO SPEAK with confident and clarity. I'm specialized in TEACHING GRAMMAR and I push my students to SPEAK ITALIAN as much as possible during the lessons in a friendly atmosphere. This is a great way to improve or learn Italian in a reasonable time frame. I'll provide you all the material you need and I'll also give you some tips about Italian culture. I teach online to both adults and children and I also speak English and Spanish. Choose the day and time of each lesson and let's start your Italian journey! :-)
$30.00-34.00
USD/h
Flag イタリア語
イタリア
1,011
イタリア語
ネイティブ
,
スペイン語
C2
,
英語
C2
,
フランス語
B1
,
中国語
A2
Ciao a tutti! I teach Italian language TO SPEAK with confident and clarity. I'm specialized in TEACHING GRAMMAR and I push my students to SPEAK ITALIAN as much as possible during the lessons in a friendly atmosphere. This is a great way to improve or learn Italian in a reasonable time frame. I'll provide you all the material you need and I'll also give you some tips about Italian culture. I teach online to both adults and children and I also speak English and Spanish. Choose the day and time of each lesson and let's start your Italian journey! :-)

あなたが興味ありそうな記事です

Tongue Twisters in Spanish
Profile Picture
Stephanie Valdes
2018年4月18日
IELTS Study
Profile Picture
Martyn Fairlamb
2018年4月12日