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The 19 Funniest Expressions in Italian (and How to Use Them)

by Richard Bruschi Dec 16, 2016

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 quicksilver 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).

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).

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