55 Italian Idiomatic phrases and expressions

  1. Avere la Botte Piena e la Moglie Ubriaca : To have the wine cask full and the wife drunk: to have your cake and eat it, too.
  2. Avere le mani d'oro :to be gifted in doing things
  3. Attaccare il Cappello : To hang up one’s hat: used of a man who marries a wealthy woman, and (presumably) doesn’t have to work anymore.
  4. A piede libero : out of jail
  5. Alzare il gomito : to drink too much
  6. Andarci coi piedi di piombo : to be cautious
  7. Attacalo al chiodo : Hang it to the nail ( forget about it )
  8. Avere le mani in pasta :to have power to influence someone else's decisions, to be powerful
  9. Avere le mani legate :to have one's hands tied
  10. Avere un piede nella fossa : to be almost dead
  11. Buona Notte al Secchio : Literally, good night to the bucket, iIt’s used to mean …and then we’re screwed.Why there should be a bucket involved I do not know.
  12. Buono Come il Pane :As good as bread.
  13. Caduto dalle Nuvole :Fallen from the clouds: Completely surprised, or pretending to be.
  14. Siamo incasinati : We’re in a mess(or we’re very busy”).
  15. Cadere in piedi : to land on one's feet, to come out of a situation without damage
  16. Cogliere qualcuno con le mani nel sacco :to catch someone red:handed
  17. Dare manforte :to come to the rescue
  18. Dare una mano a qualcuno :to help someone
  19. Darsela a gambe : to run away
  20. Essere alla mano :to be easy going
  21. Dalle Stelle alle Stalle From riches to rugs
  22. Dente Avvelenato – Ho il dente avvelenato : I am quite upset
  23. Essere in gamba :
  24. Fare man bassa : to ransack
  25. Fuori di Testa : Out of your mind
  26. Gallina Vecchia fa Buon Brodo : old chicken makes good soup
  27. Fuori dai piedi! : clear out!
  28. Il bue dice cornuto all'asino : The ox calls horned the donkey
  29. Il Sangue Al Cervello – the blood on the brain (to describe that anger incrases)
  30. In Bocca al Lupo : Into the wolf's mouth : good luck ( it works like Break a leg in English ) The proper response is Crepi il lupo (May the wolf die)
  31. Leccapiedi : brownnose
  32. Legarsela al dito : to remember a wrong bitterly
  33. Man mano che : as/while
  34. Metter le mani avanti (prima di cadere) : to take action to prevent later damage
  35. Mettere il dito sulla piaga : to touch where it hurts
  36. Mettersi le mani nei capelli : to be desperate, helpless
  37. Metterci la ciliegina sopra : To place the cherry on top – To finish up something
  38. Metti il sale sulla coda – Put salt on his tail / Try to catch it !
  39. Mi piace un casino : I like it a lot.
  40. Mordersi le mani : to regret something
  41. Nella Botte Piccola C'è Vino Buono : Into a small cask there is good wine: A friendly compliment to a short person.
  42. Non fare il passo piu' lungo della gamba : Don't make your step longer than your leg (or, don’t bite off more than you can chew)
  43. Olio di gomito : oil from the elbow / Physical labor : Usare olio di gomito : Faticare
  44. Ogni morto di papa : Every Death of a Pope : once in a blue moon.
  45. Peli Sulla Lingua : non ho peli sulla lingua : I have no hair on my tongue – I speak frankly
  46. Peli Sullo stomaco: ( Avere peli sullo stomaco ) :
  47. Prendere qualcosa sottogamba : not to take it seriously
  48. Piove sul Bagnato: It rains on what’s already wet : When it rains it pours !
  49. Qualcosa bolle in pentola : Something is boiling in the pot (You are up to something) Ragionare coi piedi : to be illogical
  50. Sentirsi prudere le mani : to feel like hitting someone
  51. Star con le mani in mano : to be idle, to be sitting on the fence
  52. Su due piedi : on the spot
  53. Ti scureggia il cervello ( A fun Roman expression that mean : Your brin is farting ! / you are saying something very stupid ! )
  54. Tirarsi su le maniche : Pull up the sleeves : Getting ready to work
  55. Venire alle mani : to fight