Tag Archives: idioms

A Funny Way With Words

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As in all languages, Italian has some pretty funny way with words – idioms that are difficult to understand unless you have a pretty good command of the language! I was even stumped once with an American idiom -probably because I grew up in an Italian house and, unless I heard them at school or in a social setting, I wouldn’t have ever been exposed to them. The one that got me was “bake a file in a cake“….am I the only one that has never heard that one?

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I wanted to share some quirky Italian idioms and try to explain their meaning.

1. “Avere le braccia corte” – having short arms!

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This is used when someone is stingy and never offers to pay for anything!

2. “Hai volute la bicicletta…adesso pedala!” – you wanted a bicycle, now pedal it.

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Kind of like “you made your bed – now sleep in it!”.

3. “Quando il fieno e vicono al fuoco, bruccia” – when hay is near fire, it will burn!

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In other words, when a girl and a boy are close, sparks will fly!

4. “Hai capito Roma per toma” – you understood “roma” for “toma. As far as I know, there isn’t a translation for “toma” – it just rhymes with “roma”. It’s used when someone misunderstands something.

5. “Le piu grand l’uch del buch” – this is Lombardian dialect which translated means “the eye is bigger than the hole“. My grandmother used to tell me this every time I took down a lot of food on my plate and then left half of it uneaten. My eyes were bigger than my stomach.

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Do you have any others to add? I think these are always so funny and descriptive!

 

Sayings and things….

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Italian, like any other language, has some pretty interesting sayings to explain many of life’s experiences.  Recently, my husband found a book which listed some of these.   Most of these sayings were new to me, but some were familiar because I remember my parents saying them. What’s interesting to realize is that different parts of Italy have their own sayings or ones that they use frequently – I guess much like our American versus British versus Australian sayings – each one has little quips that are particular to their own region! 

Here were some of my favorites:

1.  Le bugie hanno le gambe corte = lies have short legs! (I used to get this all the time when I was a little girl!!)

2.  Occio il tram = watch out for the tram = watch out!  (this is Lombardian dialect and who knows if I spelled it correctly!!!)  I used to get this all the time, too!

3.  Un caval donato non si guarda in boca = don’t look a gift horse in the mouth!

4.  Il contadino non puo sapere quant’e buono il formaggio con le pere = Don’t let the peasant know how good cheese is with pears!  I don’t really get this one, but I hear it alot.  Why can’t the peasant know?  Perhaps then he would keep it all to himself?

5.  Can che abbaia non morde = the dog that barks does not bite!

6.  A tavola non s’invecchia = you don’t get old at the table! 

7.  Amici e vini sono meglio vecchi = Friends and wine are better old!

There are lots more, and as they come to me, I will post some more 🙂  But in the meantime, if you hear any of these, you will know what they mean. 

Forewarned is forearmed….hmmm, I wonder how they say that one in Italian?