stare con le mani in mano*

* to stand with hands in hand

Italian Italy

Expression USED Frequently BY Everyone

It corresponds to the English “to sit on someone’s hands”. It’s used to refer to someone who isn’t doing anything, especially at the moment of speaking.

"Non posso starmene con le mani in mano mentre i cittadini protestano per le strade."

"I can’t stand with my hands in hand while the citizens are protesting in the streets."

Fa' ballà l'oeucc*

* Let the eye dance

Milanese dialect Milan, Italy

Expression USED On Occasion BY Everyone

It's a way to push someone to "move his eyes", to be very careful about something.

"Quella strada è molto trafficata, fa' ballà l'oeucc quando attraversi!"

"There's a lot of traffic on that road, let the eye dance when you cross it!"



* fennel

Italian Italy

Slang USED Very frequently BY Almost Everyone

The word literally means "fennel" but, if directed to men, it's an homophobic insult like "faggot".

"Luca è molto attraente, peccato che sia un finocchio."

"Luca is really good looking, too bad he's a fennel."


* broccoli

Italian Italy

Word USED On Rare Occasion BY Everyone

"Broccolo" is what you would call someone who is good for nothing and doesn't have any skills. Also someone who is stupid and dumb.

"Non ho parole... Sei un broccolo!"

"I'm speechless... You are a broccoli!"


* salted codfish

Italian Italy

Word USED On Rare Occasion BY Some People

It's an insult used to address an incompetent and stupid person.

"È un baccalà, non è buono a niente!"

"He is a salted codfish, a good-for-nothing!"


arancino coi piedi*

* footed arancino

Italian | Sicilian Sicily, Italy

Expression USED On Occasion BY Everyone

You can say this to someone very fat or who eats a lot, because an arancino is a very big fried food.

Note: In Catania we use the word "arancinO" and in Palermo they say "arancinA", but the meaning of the expression is the same.

"Hai mangiato tutto ciò che avevo cucinato! Sei proprio un arancino coi piedi!"

"You ate everything I cooked! You are really a footed arancino!"

testa di rapa

Italian Italy

Expression USED Frequently BY Almost Everyone

It means something like "idiot" or "stupid" and it's used when someone doesn't understand something.

"Hai sbagliato tutto, sei una testa di rapa!"

"You did everything wrong, you turnip head!"

Confirmed by 2 people


Italian Italy

Slang USED Very frequently BY People Over 20

(n.) The first meaning is a type of cheese typically produced in Southern Italy. It's also a term used to address a guy keen on flirting with any woman around him.

Note: The pun consists of "Provolone" sharing its first letters with the verb "provare", which means 'to try' but also 'to hit on someone' .

"Marco è un provolone, ci prova con tutte."

"Marco is a provolone, he flirts with every single woman."

Confirmed by 2 people

testa di rapa*

* turnip head

Italian Italy

Expression USED On Occasion BY Everyone

A mild way of telling someone they are not very bright, intelligent, or otherwise capable of understanding or doing. Similar to calling someone an idiot, just less offensive.

"Andrea è proprio una testa di rapa, si è di nuovo dimenticato i compiti!"

"Andrea really is a turnip head, he forgot his homework again!"


Italian Italy

Word USED On Occasion BY Everyone

The sudden drowsiness and tiredness one feels soon after lunch.

"Ho mangiato troppo e mi viene da dormire perché ho l'abbiocco."

"I've eaten too much and now I'm feeling like sleeping because I'm having abbiocco."


pesare i peri*

* weighing pears

Italian | Veneto Veneto, Italy

Slang USED On Occasion BY Older Generations

It is a dialectal form to describe when you are sleepy, with half-closed eyelids and cheeks hanging like pears.

"Come sta andando la conferenza? È interessante?" "No, è veramente noiosa, sono qui a pesare i peri!"

"How's the conference going? Is it interesting?" "No, it's really boring, I'm here weighing pears!"

mettere una mano sul fuoco*

* to put the hand on the fire

Italian Italy

Idiom USED On Occasion BY Almost Everyone

It's used when you are absolutely certain of what you are saying. On the contrary, when you are not that sure, you can use it in the negative form.

"Sei sicuro che sia la strada giusta?" (+)"Certo, ci metterei la mano sul fuoco" (-) "Credo di si, ma non ci metterei la mano sul fuoco"

"Are you sure this is the right way to go?" (+)"Sure, I would put my hand on the fire" (-) "I think so, but I wouldn't put my hand on the fire"

cadere dal pero*

* to fall from the pear tree

Italian Italy

Expression USED On Occasion BY Some People

This expression is used when somebody has a sudden realisation of a fact or a negative aspect of their reality.

"È caduto dal pero quando ha saputo del loro divorzio!"

"He's fallen from the pear tree when he heard about their divorce!"


Italian Italy

Name USED On Occasion BY Almost Everyone

Troublemaker. Someone annoying, who is always objecting.

“Lui è proprio un piantagrane.” “Sì, odio lavorare con lui, crea solo problemi.”

“He really is a piantagrane.” “Yes, I hate working with him, he’s always causing problems.”


per carità!*

* for charity!

Italian Italy and Switzerland

Interjection USED Very frequently BY Everyone

Generally at the end of the sentence to stress that something is negative. Equivalent to "God forbid" or "hell no".

"Giovanna, ma ti piace Marco o no?" "Ma per carità!"

"Giovanna, do you or do you not like Marco?" "For God‘s sake, no!"

Confirmed by 2 people