Creative literal translations of Italian idioms
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Creative literal translations of Italian idioms

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Tue 31 May 2016 9:53 AM

Director of The Florentine Marco Badiani speaks great English, but, when it comes to idiomatic phrases, his choice is to be the king of the “detto non detto”, offering creative literal translations of Italian idioms. His colourful turns of phrase never cease to make us laugh. In this article, we serve up the finest ‘Marco-isms’ of the year.

So many Italian idiomatic expressions involve "brodo"...
So many Italian idiomatic expressions involve “brodo”…

We do not fry with the water.

Italian: Non si frigge con l’acqua

Meaning: We do things properly.

At The Florentine, we are four cats.

Italian: Siamo quattro gatti

Meaning: We’re a small team but we do a lot.

I’m cook-ed like an eggplant.

Italian: Son cotto come una melanzana

Meaning: I’m pooped.

Good face to bad luck.

Italian: For buon viso a cattiva sorte

Meaning: To grin and bear it

We have the stones at the door.

Italian: Siamo alle porte coi sassi

Meaning: We’re down to the very last minute

I put the face.

Italian: Ci metto la faccia

Meaning: I’ll do it, even though it’s awkward.

I know my chickens.

Italian: Conosco i miei polli.

Meaning: I know them well.

In Italy, knowing your chickens is everything.
In Italy, knowing your chickens is everything.

So, on my two feet…

Italian: Così su due piedi…

Meaning: …Off the top of my head.

I’m losing shots

Italian: Sto perdendo colpi.

Meaning: I’m dropping the ball.

I must make local mind.

Italian: Devo fare mente locale.

Meaning: I must make a mental note.

Let him cook in his broth.

Italian: Lascialo bollire nel suo brodo.

Meaning: Just let him stew.

If it's working like fresh pasta, then all will be well.
If it’s working like fresh pasta, then all will be well.

It works like fresh pasta.

Italian: Funziona come pasta fresca.

Meaning: It works like clockwork.

I’m full as an egg.                                                                                                                    

Sono pieno come un uovo.                                                                                                    

Meaning: I’m stuffed.

Water in the mouth!

Italian: Acqua in bocca!

Meaning: Keep schtum!

We’re at the fruit.

Italian: Siamo alla frutta.

Meaning: We’re reached rock bottom.

We’re on the horse.

Italian: Siamo a cavallo.

Meaning: We’re home and dry.

The dress does not make the monk.

Italian: L’abito non fa il monaco.

Meaning: Looks aren’t everything.

Getting into the habit.
Getting into the habit.

She’s holding up her soul with her teeth.

Italian: Regge l’anima coi denti.

Meaning: She’s on her last legs.

Son of a good woman!

Italian: Figlio di buona donna!

Meaning: Son of a bitch!

You asked the crazy to throw stones.

Italian: Hai invitato i matti a fare a sassate.

Meaning: They would have done it anyway.

He planted an apple tree!

Italian: Azz, ha piantato un melo!

Meaning: Ooh, he’s really taken a tumble.

At beast!

Italian: Abbestia!

Meaning: Brilliant!

She’s got a bronze face!

Italian: Ha proprio una faccia di bronzo!

Meaning: She’s got a nerve.

It all makes broth.

Italian: Tutto fa brodo.

Meaning: Every little helps.

Oh look, more broth!
Oh look, more broth!

From the stars to the stables

Italian: Dalle stelle alle stalle

Meaning: From the sublime to the ridiculous.

It’s dog cold

Italian: Fa un freddo cane

Meaning: It’s freezing

Jump the ditch

Italian: Saltare il fosso

Meaning: Take the plunge

Remove the potatoes from the fire

Italian: Togliere le patate dal fuoco

Meaning: Solve a burning question

We’re at the carpet

Italian: Siamo a tappeto

Meaning: Back to square one

I think they billed me

Italian: Ci sta che mi hanno fatto una fattura

Meaning: They must have put a spell on me

Take two pigeons with a broad bean

Italian: Pigliare due piccioni con una fava

Meaning: Kill two birds with one stone.

Just sometimes there can be too much meat on the fire...
Just sometimes there can be too much meat on the fire…

There’s too much meat on the fire                                                                                                 

Italian: C’e troppa carne al fuoco                                                                                     

Meaning: We’ve bitten off more than we can chew

They’re ass and shirt                                                                                                                       

Italian: Sono culo e camicia                                                                                                            

Meaning: They’re thick as thieves.

You’re breaking down an open door

Italian: Sfondi una porta aperta

Meaning: You’re preaching to the converted

Shoot on the red cross

Italian: Spari sulla croce rossa

Meaning: It’s like taking candy from a baby

“The game isn’t worth the candle

Italian: Il gioco non vale la candela

Meaning: It’s not worth the trouble

I have a cat to peel

Italian: Ho una bella gatta da pelare

Meaning: It’s a tough nut to crack

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