Welcome to today’s post my lovely dears!
Proverbs tell much about the mentality of a people and can be a good way to practice the language, too. Not long ago, I’ve started a series of posts on Italian proverbs. This is the second one, again offering a proverb for (almost) every letter of the alphabet. You can also read my first post on Italian proverbs. Ready? Let’s start!
Letter A: Agguingere legna al fuoco.
It literally is “To add wood to the fire”, and its English equivalent is, “To add fuel to the fire”. It means that an already bad situation is being made worse, intentionally or not.
Letter B: Buon sangue non mente.
Its literal translation is “Good blood doesn’t lie”, and it’s similar to the English, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. It means that something runs in the family, i.e. the children inherit the same features of their parents.
Letter C: Camminare sopra il filo di un rasoio.
It literally translates, “To walk on the thread of a razor”, while its English equivalent is, “Do not play with edged tools”. It means that somebody is going through a very delicate and risky and edgy situation.
Letter D: Dal frutto si conosce l’albero.
The literal translation is, “From the fruit you know the tree”, and also this is equivalent to the English, “The apple does not fall far from the tree”. Here, too, the meaning is that children often follow the examples of their parents.
Letter E: È meglio star solo che mal accompagnato.
It has its literal equivalent in the English, “Better be alone than in bad company”. It means that remaining alone is a preferable choice than hanging around with the wrong people just to have some company.
Letter F: Fare il passo più lungo della gamba.
Translated literally it is, “To make the step bigger than the leg”, while the English equivalent is, “Don’t have too many irons in the fire”. It means that you shouldn’t start something that is above your possibilities.
Letter G: Gallina vecchia fa buon brodo.
It literally is, “Old chicken makes good broth”. This is a cooking proverb, meaning that a soup made using an old chicken will be more tasteful than one made with a younger chicken. In a more general sense, it means that somebody older and more experienced will produce better results and will deal better with situations encountered.
Letter I: In terra di ciechi, beato a chi ha un occhio.
It literally is, “In a land of blind, blessed he who is one-eyed”. The similar English equivalent is, “Among the blind, the one-eyed is king”, meaning that even somebody mediocre can succeed and stand out if the other around him are even less capable.
Letter L: La miglior difesa è l’attacco.
Its literal translation is, “The best defence is attacking”. The English equivalent, “The best defence is a good offence”, means that sometimes the best way of defending yourself is to actively strike first instead of passively waiting for your opponent’s move.
Letter M: Medico, cura te stesso!
It has its literal equivalent in the English, “Physician, heal yourself!”, meaning that you should focus on detecting and correcting your faults and mistakes, instead of focusing on other people’s fault.
Letter N: Non c’è due senza tre.
It literally translates “There’s no two without three”. The English equivalent is “All good things are three”, and it means that something that happened two times will likely happen also a third time.
Letter O: Occhio non vede, cuore non duole.
The literal translation is, “Eye doesn’t see, heart doesn’t hurt”. The meaning is that something unpleasant bothers you less if you don’t actually see with your eyes, than if you actually do.
Letter P: Patti chiari, amicizia lunga.
Literally translated it is, “Clear agreements, long friendship”. The meaning is that if you intend to keep a healthy and lasting relationship with somebody you have to make everything absolutely clear beforehand.
Letter Q: Quando il diavolo ti accarezza, vuole l’anima.
It literally is, “When the devil caresses you, he wants your soul”. The meaning is that when some people start suddenly being nice to you is because they want something from you.
Letter R: Rosso di sera, bel tempo si spera.
Its literal translation is, “Red in the evening, you wish for good weather”. This is a meteorological proverb, meaning that if the sky has a reddish colour in the evening, then the weather is going to be bad at night or during the day after.
Letter S: Sbagliando s’impara.
It literally translates, “Making mistakes you learn”. The meaning is that mistakes are unavoidable and are actually necessary to learn your lessons and improve yourself.
Letter T: Tra moglie e marito non ci mettere il dito.
The literal translation is, “Between wife and husband don’t put a finger”. The English equivalent is, “Don’t go between the tree and the bark”, and it means that you shouldn’t poke your nose in situations that don’t belong to you, especially if it concerns a married couple.
Letter U: Una rondine non fa primavera.
Literally translated it is, “A (single) swallow doesn’t make spring”. This is also a meteorological one, meaning that just because you saw one swallow that doesn’t mean that the season has changed already. It has also a more general sense, meaning that you can’t think that something you started is going well just because some signals are good.
That’s all for today. Do you like learning Italian proverbs? Do you have any particular request or question concerning them? If so I would like to hear from you. I hope you enjoyed this post and to see you soon on this blog. Ciao ciao!