Italian proverbs, part 4

Hi my lovely dears!

Welcome to the fourth post on Italian proverbs. In the first, the second and the third posts we looked at some Italian proverbs (often with their English equivalent) for each letter of the alphabet. Here we will see some more of them.

Letter A: A buon intenditor, poche parole.

Literally translated it is “To a good listener, few words”. It means that if you talk to somebody about something he/she knows well, you don’t need to say much. Mostly, in Italy it is used when you talk to somebody about something he/she has done without openly mentioning it.

Letter B: Bel gioco dura poco

The literal translation is “A nice game lasts a short time”. It means that when you joke about something or tease somebody you shouldn’t keep going on for too long, or it will become annoying.

Letter C: Carta canta.

Its literal translation is “Paper sings”, but its English equivalent is “If the beard were all, the goat might preach”. It means that if you strongly claim something you should also have something to objectively prove it.

Letter D: Del senno di poi, sono piene le fosse.

It literally translates “Of hindsight the ditches are full”. It means that it’s no use regretting something you should’ve done and you didn’t, or something that you shouldn’t have done and you did.

Letter F: Fa’ il male e scordati, fa’ il bene e pensaci.

Literally translated it is “Do good and forget it, do bad and think about it”. It means that you should do good without expecting anything in exchange, so just forget you did it; but you should constantly be aware if you did bad to somebody, because it will come back at you.

Letter G: Gli occhi sono lo specchio dell’anima.

The literal translation is “The eyes are the mirror of the soul”. It means that through the look in someone’s eyes you can make a good guess of his/her personality and intentions and understand if he/she is lying.

Letter I: Il mattino ha l’oro in bocca.

Its literal translation is “Morning has gold in its mouth”. It means that the morning is a good moment to start things, because you have more energy to deal with them and more time still available during the rest of the day.

Letter L: L’apparenza inganna.

It literally translates “The appearance deceives”. It is similar to the English “Don’t judge a book by the cover”, and means that you shouldn’t base your opinion only on appearances because they can differ from the truth behind them.

Letter M: Mogli e buoi dei paesi tuoi.

Literally translated it is “Wives and oxen of your lands”. It means that you should marry somebody that comes from your own country and belongs to your same culture, because only like that you can understand each other and avoid misunderstandings and clashes.

Letter N: Non c’è peggior sordo di chi non vuol sentire.

The literal translation is “There’s no one more deaf than somebody who doesn’t want to listen”. It means that it’s frustrating and painful trying to give an advice or make a request to somebody that won’t listen to you.

Letter O: Ogni lasciata è persa.

Its literal translation is “Every left is missed”. It means that if you miss an occasion it won’t come back and will be just your loss.

Letter Q: Quando il gatto non c’è, i topi ballano.

It literally translates “When the cat isn’t there, the mice dance” (i.e. “When the cat’s away, the mice will play”). It means that when somebody controlling or with an authority isn’t around, the people subject to the authority immediately behave freely, even breaking some rules.

Letter S: Si dice il peccato, non il peccatore.

Literally translated it is “You say the sin but not the sinner”. It means that in a discussion you can report a misdeed, but you shouldn’t report who did it.

Letter T: Tutte le strade portano a Roma.

Its literal English equivalent is “All roads lead to Rome”. It means that you will reach your destination, regardless of the road you will take. It refers to the fact that ancient Romans built the major arteries of the road system of their empire using Rome as the starting point.

Letter U: Una mano lava l’altra e tutte e due lavano il viso.

The literal translation is “One hand washes the other and both clean the face”. It means that if one or more people reciprocally discover to have something to hide, they will help each other in keeping it secret. It is something similar (but not totally equivalent) to the English, “I’ll scratch your back and you’ll scratch mine”.

Letter V: Vedere e non toccare è una cosa da crepare.

It literally translates “Looking and not touching is something that makes you die”. It means that seeing something you want and not being able to touch or get it is very frustrating.

That’s all for this post, my lovelies! I would like to hear your opinion on Italian proverbs too. I hope to see you soon on this blog. Ciao ciao!

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