Having fun with Italian


1. In bocca al lupo

Pronunciation: [In bok-kah al loo-poh]
Literal translation: In the mouth of the wolf
Meaning: Good luck! Break a leg!

2. Piovere a catinelle

Pronunciation: [Pee-yoh-ver-reh ah ka-ti-nel-leh]
Literal translation: To rain wash basins
Meaning: To rain like cats and dogs

3. La goccia che ha fatto traboccare il vaso

Pronunciation: [Lah goh-chah keh ah faht-toh tra-bok-kah-reh eel va-zoh]
Literal translation: The drop that made the vase overflow
Meaning: The straw the broke the camel’s back

4. Avere la Botte Piena e la Moglie Ubriaca

Pronunciation: [Ah-veh-reh lah bot-teh pee-eh-nah eh lah mol-yeh u-bri-ah-kah]
Literal translation: To have a full bottle of wine and a drunk wife
Meaning: to have your cake and eat it too

5. Non Avere Peli Sulla Lingua

Pronunciation: [Non Ah-veh-reh peh-li sul-lah ling-gwah]
Literal translation: to not have hairs on the tongue
Meaning: speaks plainly, say it like it is

6. Prendere in giro

Pronunciation: [pren-der-reh in ji-roh]
Literal translation: to take for a spin
Meaning: to tease or take the mickey out of someone

7. Non vedo l’ora

Pronunciation: [Non veh-doh lor-rah]
Literal translation: Can’t see the time
Meaning: I can’t wait (from excitement)

8. Scoprire gli altarini

Pronunciation: [Skoh-pri-reh leh aal-ta-ree-knee]
Literal translation: To discover little altars
Meaning: To let the cat out of the bag

9. Essere al verde

Pronunciation: [Es-sir-reh al verr-deh]
Literal translation: to be at the green
Meaning: To be flat broke

10. Reggere la candela

Pronunciation: [Rej-jer-reh lah can-del-lah]
Literal translation: to hold the candle
Meaning: To be the third wheel

11. Rompere le scatole

Pronunciation: [Romp-peh-reh leh ska-toh-leh]
Literal translation: to break boxes
Meaning: to get on someone’s nerves

12. Avere culo

Pronunciation: [Ah-veh-reh ku-loh]
Literal translation: To have arse
Meaning: To be very lucky, to fall on one’s feet

13. Avere le Braccine Corte

Pronunciation: [Ah-veh-reh leh bratch-chee-neh kor-teh]
Literal translation: To Have Short Arms
Meaning: To be stingy, because your arms are so short that they can’t reach your pockets.

14. Girare la frittata

Pronunciation: [Jee-rah-reh lah frit-tah-tah]
Literal translation: to turn the omelette
Meaning: Turn the tables in one’s favour