Italian idioms - Letter A

A Babbo mortowhen the Father is deadThe original meaning is to return the money without a precise date. E.g. Ti restituirò i soldi a Babbo morto = I will return your money when my Father is dead.
Abbassare la crestaLow down the pegIt is the gesture with which the roosters, before or after a fight, recognize the superiority of the opponent. From the rural world the expression came to us with the sense of “drop their claims”, “recognize their own inferiority” or even an encouragement to stop acting arrogantly. E.g. Low down your peg, otherwise you are going to pay the consequences.
A bizzeffeIn great abundanceIn great abundance. E.g. Abbiamo torte a bizzeffe = We have cakes in great abundance
A bocca asciuttaA dry mouthWithout the spoils that were expected to get. E.g. Si aspettava di vincere il premio, ma è rimasto a bocca asciutta = He believed to win the prize, but He has been left with “a dry mouth” (with nothing)
A bocce fermewith stationary ballsLike in the game of bowls, the distance from the ball and consequently the points are given only when the balls stop moving. it conveys the idea that in certain situations it is good to wait until the current events are concluded before to proceed with further action. E.g. A bocce ferme, si capirà che è il vincitore = With stationary balls (series of events concluded), we will understand who is the winner
A botta caldaA blow (when it is) hotIn the immediacy of the event.The idea comes from a craftsman hammering a piece of metal when it is still very hot: it is only in that moment you get the maximum result in working in modelling the metal. E.g. Ha affrontato la questione a botta calda = He faced the issue immediately
A braccia aperteWith open armsTo be completely openminded, without reserves. E.g. Accolgo la tua idea a braccia aperte = I welcome you idea with open arms
A braccioAt armBasically “more or less,” meaning something measured using your arm instead of a mesuring tape. Even referred to a speech-at-arm, which indicates an extemporaneous speech, not prepared. E.g. Ha parlato alla folla a braccio. = He spoke to the crowd at arm (without an outline).
A briglia sciolteWith free bridles Without brakes. The bridles, in the case of a horse race, represent the brakes, the control of the horse in general. In the case of humans, it means you speak without controlling refraining tout tongue. E.g. Parla a briglia sciolte = He speaks without inibition.
A buon mercatoCheapCheaply, at a good price. E.g. L'ho comprato a buon mercato = I bought it cheap.
A calci nel sedereby kicks in the assTreat someone badly, with no regard. E.g. Lo ha mandato via a calci nel sedere. He send him away by kicks in the ass
A caldoWhen it's still hotShortly after the incident, when the emotions are still alive. In traumatology means also the moment in which the trauma occurs during physical activity (in which the body and the part concerned has increase quantity of heat). E.g. A caldo, lui era d'accordo = When it was still hot (shortly after the event), he agreed on it.
A casa miaIn my houseFrom my point of view, common where I com from or in my family. E.g. A casa mia prima di mangiare ci si lava le mani = In my house we wash hands before eating.
A chi tocca?Whose turn is it?Who's next? (in turn, on of the list). E.g. People in a waiting room. Someone of the personnel comes out asking “A chi tocca?”, whose turn is it?
A colpo d'occhioAt a glanceBriefly, at first sight. You get the idea of what is going on with a glimpes of your eyes. E.g. Ho capito cosa non andava a colpo d'occhio = I got what was wrong at a glance.
A colpo sicuroWithout failDo something with confidence, without double checking, knowing the outcome will be right. E.g. Ha aperto la scatola giusta a colpo sicuro. Avrà imbrogliato? = He opened the right box without fail. Did he cheat?
A corpo morto(As) a dead bodyDropping your body without resistance, not opposing yourself to the surrounding events. E.g. Si è tuffato a corpo morto = He plunged himself into water as a dead body.
Acqua chetaCalm watersA person who apparently does not crear problems but might be the one who quietly will upset everything. The expression owes part of its success to the comedy “The calm waters” written by Augusto Novelli in 1908
Acqua e saponeSoap and waterIt is normally told of a girl who does not use cosmetics to enhance their beauty. Sincere girl. E.g. You are a soap and water (sincere) girl
Acqua n bocca(Keep) water in your mouth“Do not say anything, do not talk!” Explicit invitation to talk about something with someone else: strictly as if you were to keep the water in the mouth, which is impossible of course if you take it to talk.
A cuore apertoWith an opened heartHonestly, without defenses or mistrust. E.g. Ti parlo a cuore aperto = I am talking with an opened heart (honestly).
A cuor leggeroLight-heartedlyDo something superficially, without thinking of the consequences. E.g. Ha accettato l'incarico a cuor leggero = He accepted the assignment light-heartedly (superficially).
A denti strettiTight-teethedTight-lipped. Do something with many difficulties and bitterness, not allowing to enjoy fully the outcome. Another meaning is to try to get something with great effort. E.g. Ha passato l'esame a denti stretti = He passed the exam thight-teethed (exercising a great effort).
A Dio piacendoGod willingHoping that all goes well. E.g. A Dio piacendo, domani ritornerò = God willing, tomorrow I will be back
Ad ogni morte di Papa Every time the Pope dies In a blue moon. Very rarely. The death of a Pope is considered a relatively rare event. E.g. In Sicilia nevica ogni morte di Papa = In Sicily it snows very rarely.
A doppio taglioA double-edged (sword) It refers to something that has effects both positive and negative, and therefore requires caution in its use. E.g. La rete può diventare un'arma a doppio taglio = The Web an become a double-edge sword.
Affé di Bacco Faith in Bacchus It is symbolically invoked the god Bacchus to ensure that in that inn they were eating and drinking well. E.g. Affé di Bacco che qui si mangia bene = We have faith in Bacchus we are going to have a good lunch here.
A fior d'acqua On the waterline Very close to the water surface. Here fior or fiore means “flower” - perhaps from the observation that certain flowers float on the waterline - indicates the surface of an object or in any event its portion close to the surface itself. Another example is the case of “mozzarella” to indicate that the cream, as is known, floats on the milk due to its lower density. E.g. Il pesce è a fior d'acqua = The fish is on the waterline.
A fior di pelle On the skin's surface Close to the heart.cVery close to the surface of the skin, epidermal. Having nerves on edge, be very sensitive. E.g. Ho i nervi a fior di pelle = I am edgy
Affilare le armi Sharpen the weapons Prepare for a fight. E.g. È tempo di affilare le armi = It's time sharp our weapons (get ready for a verbal or physical fight)
A fondo perduto With the loss of funds A grant. Without having to return the initial investment. E.g. Finanziamento a fondo perduto = A repayable financing
A freddo When it's a cold (case) A distance of time, when the dust has settled, and you calm down. E.g. È meglio che decidi a freddo = Take a decision when you calm down.
A frotte In droves Coming in numerous groups. Running out. E.g. I bambini stsnno uscendo da scuola a frotte = Children are coming out of school in droves.
Agli sgoccioli At the last drops Near the end, the final moments, the latest resources. E.g. La fine dell'inverno è agli sgoccioli = The winter is at the last drops (almost finished).
A gogò In abundanceIn large quantities, in profusion. From the French à gogo. E.g. Mangia pure a gogò = Feel free to eat as much as you want.
A naso (Using my) nose Instinctively. Using my senses to guess what it is really going on. E.g. A naso il carburante è finito = I guess the fuel is finished.
A pelle( On my) skin The first impression, an opinion got at first sight. E.g. A pelle, è un bugiardo = I feel on my skin he is a lyar.
A iosaIn great quantity E.g. Puoi mangiarne a iosa = You can eat of it in great quantity.
Ai posteri l'ardua sentenza To the future generations the judgment on this complicated issue On certain issues, today too much controversial, posterity will emit a judgment. The phrase is taken from two verses of The May 5, a most famous poem written by Alessandro Manzoni. E.g. Se questo è giusto o no, ai posteri l'ardua sentenza = If this is right or not, let the future generations emit a judgment.
Ai tempi in cui Berta filava Back to the time when Bertha was spinningTo ancient times. The Berta mention is Berta “ big feet”, wife of Pepin the Short and mother of Charlemagne, and blessed patron of the spinners. E.g. Ancora un pò e mi racconti di quanto Berta filava = You are going back in time too much.
Al dente(Feel it on your) ToothThe saying indicates the degree of cooking of rice and pasta when they are not fully cooked or otherwise are still characterized by a certain firmness.
Al di là del bene e del male Beyond good and evil So beautiful (or ugly) that it deserves a category of its own, outside the artistic canons encoded, or a public figure so famous as to “jump” the usual moral conventions. E.g. Questo film è ora al di là del bene e del male = This movie is now beyond good and evil.
Al di sopra di ogni sospettoAbove Suspicion Someone beyond suspicion. E.g. La moglie della vittima è al di sopra di ogni sospetto = The victim's wife is beyond suspicion.
Alla bell'e meglioAt best and even betterExecuted roughly. E.g. Questo vaso è stato fatto alla bell'e meglio = This vase has been made of poor quality.
Alla buonaTo goodIt means the opposite: made without particular accuracy, quickly. E.g. Non è nulla di speciale, l'ho fatto alla buona. = It's nothing special, I did it somehow.
Alla buon'oraAt a good timeIt means the opposit: very late.With large delay, in an ironic sense. E.g. A person is two hours late→ Alla buon'ora sei arrivato = Eventually you are arrived.
Alla carlonaLike (the King) CarloneIt means without care. The “king Carlone” of the poems of chivalry is actually Charlemagne, who even after his coronation as Holy Roman Emperor never gave up his rude habits and clothes. E.g. Questo disegno è fatto alla carlona = This draw is very is very bad (executed carelessly).
All'acqua di rose(Diluted with) rosewaterOverly diluted effect of weak.“ Eg.: A drug with rose water: a drug bland or that has not had the desired effect. It is also said of a situation that presents itself without difficulty.
Alla fine della fieraAt the end of the fairIn substance, after a thorough examination, at the of something. E.g. Alla fine della fiera, mi è costato il doppio = Eventually, it cost me twice.
Alla fine della giostraAt the end of the carouselThe time you analyse what has been done. E.g. Alla fine della giostra, non è rimasto nulla = At the end of it, nothing remained.
Alla garibaldinaLike the Garibaldi's soldiersTake an action without too much caution, impulsively, with recklessness. The expression is a clear reference to the methods of warfare used by Giuseppe Garibaldi, and in particular the Expedition of the Thousand, which lead to the unification of Italy.
Alla grandeGreatlyEverything works fine. E.g. La costruzione della casa va avanti alla grande = The construction of the house is going on very well.
All'americanaLike AmericansIt is said of something done in a big way, or in an unusual manner. E.g. Facciamo un party all'americana = Let's make a party like the american do (in a big way).
All'arma biancaTo the white weaponIn battles was the order given to the soldiers to continue fighting with swords or bayonets once they had run out of ammo for their rifles. The sharp weapons (daggers, swords, bayonets), are called weapons. It is also meant shining”:these are metal weapons, sparkling in the sun. Today it indicates a dialectical clash between two very bright people. E.g. Sono all'arma bianca = They are going to use the white (sharped) weapon (their brain).
Alla romana(Pay) like the Romans It determines how to split an expense in equal parts among all participants, regardless of the actual use of each of them. Especially used in order to divide the check at the restaurant. E.g. Paghiamo alla romana? = Do we pay in equal parts?
Alla “viva il parroco”At “the priest alive”Without particular accuracy, quickly. E.g. Non è nulla di speciale, l'ho fatto alla viva il parroco= It's nothing special, I did it somehow.
Alle perseTo the lost onesWhen all is lost, as a last option. E.g. Sono alle perse = I don't know what to do.
Alle prime armiAt the first weaponNovice. It is said of someone with little experience. Probably the terms comes from the military. E.g. Scusa ma sono alle prime armi = Sorry but it's my first experience.
Al passo coi tempiMoving with the timesSomeone or something regularly updated. E.g. Quest'auto non è al passo coi tempi = This car has an old technology.
Alti papaveriTall poppiesImportant people, usually in the military or political. E.g. Lui è un alto papavero = He is an important person.
Altro che storie(More then) storiesExpression that aims to highlight and emphasize the truth of an opinion or a fact disputed. E.g. Altro che storie, queste sono cose importanti = Not stories, but important things.
Altro giro altra corsaAnother round, another raceIndicates, in a ironic way, the repetition of a certain action, especially if it must be done after a first unsuccessful process. Comes from the expression used by carnies at a carnival.
Alzare i tacchi / Ritirarsi in buon ordineRaise heels / Retreating in good orderExpression normally used often when it comes to a critical situation in which we should strategically retreat. E.g. E' meglio che alziamo i tacchi = It's better lo leave now (the situation is getting worse).
Alzare il gomitoRaise the elbowDrinking beyond measure (alcohol), because only by raising the elbow a drunk still manages to empty the glass. E.g. Stasera hai alzato troppo il gomito = Ronight you have raised your elbow too much (drunk too much).
A memoria d'uomoIn living memoryAs far as you remember. E.g. A memoria d'uomo, è la prima volta che nevica in questa città = In living memory, it's the first that it snow in this city.
Amico del giaguaroFriend of the JaguarFriend of your enemy. E.g. He is friend of the jaguar = He is friend of the enemy (a traitor).
Ammazzare il tempoKilling timeFind gimmicks to pass the time in one way or another. E.g. Sto ammazzando il tempo in attesa della cena = I am killing (wasting) time waiting for dinner.
Ammesso e non concessoWhilst it may be Assuming, for the moment, that this is so, even without recognizing it definitively. E.g. Ammesso e non concesso che sia la verità… = Assuming that it's the truth…
Andare a CanossaGoing to CanossaThe phrase means “humble yourself, admit you were wrong.” To Canossa, in the winter of 1077, the Emperor Henry IV waited for three days and three nights, barefoot and wearing only a robe, to be received and forgiven by Pope Gregory VII. E.g. Stai andando a Canossa? = Are humbling yourself?
Andare / cascare a fagioloGo / fall to beanTo be the right thing, at the right place at the right time. E.g. Cadi a fagiolo = You are the one I need right now.
Andare a farsi benedireGo for a blessingPhrase used in abandoning what you are doing without having achieved anything. The blessing is an act to require divine intervention. When you have no more hope of getting what you expect, the only possibility is to expect a miracle. E.g. Il frigorifero è andato a farsi benedire = The fridge is gone for a blessing (is broken).
Andare a gonfie veleGo on with swollen sailsGo to booming.The expression seamanship, which means “to navigate using all the force of the wind,” where it is sought to describe a situation where everything is going well. E.g. Gli affari vanno a gonfie vele = The business is booming.
Andare a letto con le gallineGo to bed with the chickensThe chickens, as many diurnal animals, follow the sun. Go to bed with the chickens, therefore, means literally go to bed at sunset, by extension go to bed very early. E.g. Vai a letto con le galline = Are you going to sleep with the chickens (very early)?
Andare a pennelloGoing to brushSomething fitting very well, made of the right measure or color, matching what already exists. E.g. Questo vestito mi va a pennello. = This dress is of the right size.
Andare a quel paeseGo to that countryThe equivalent of the strongest expressions “Go to hell”, used when you angry and upset with someone. E.g. Ma vai a quel paese! = Go to that country (to hell)!
Andare a ramengoGo to ramengoRuined. Going to the dogs. It means to lose, fail in their purposes. Probably derives from the poetic form “go wandering” (alone, without a goal, away from everyone, poor and desperate) probably inherited from Italian vernacular of the Middle Ages. It could also come from the name of the town in the province of Asti Aramengo where apparently there were prisons that housed people who had gone bankrupt or insolvent. E.g. La barca è andata a remengo = The boat is gone to remengo (is spoiled).
Andare a rotoliGo into rollsEnd badly. Falling apart. It is said of situations and events ending irretrievably bad: E.g. Tutto andava a rotoli = Everything was falling apart.“
Andare a zonzoStrollingBuzzing around, wander around aimlessly,just for fun. E.g. Sei stato a zonzo tutto il giorno? = Did you wander around all the day?
Andare controcorrenteGo opposite to the current(of a river)Go against a disposition or something already established. Being unconventional and different from the crowd. E.g. Lui va sempre controcorrente = He does always te opposite.
Andare dietro alle chimereGo behind the chimerasThe illusion of something unattainable. E.g. Lui va dietro a chimere = He is chasing dreams.
Andare in biancoGoing on white
Andare in cavalleriaGo in the cavalryIt is said of an account that will never be paid, a payment that is not executed, and by extension a forecast transaction but without feedback. E.g. Il pagamento è andato in cavalleria. = The payment is not going to be executed.
Andare in rossoGo In the red(on your bank account)It means “running out of money, breaking your budget.” The “red” is a clear reference to the bank account. Similar “to be green.” E.g. Sono andato in rosso! = I went to red (to green)
Andare (finire) in vaccaGo (finish) in cowIt says something that goes wrong. E.g. Il mio raccolto è finito in vacca = My harvest went to cow (is ruined).
Andare (filare) liscioGo (spin) smoothlyProceed smoothly, without a hitch. E.g. Oggi è filato tutto liscio. Today everything went smoothly.
Andare nel palloneGo into the soccer ballGoing into the flask. Become confused by too many stressing situations (like the stress suffered by a soccer ball during a match). E.g. Sono nel pallone. = I am totally confused.
Andare per il sottileGo for the thinSomeone looking to every detail, picky, wasting time in checking secondary aspects and details. E.g. Non andare troppo per il sottile = Don't be too much demanding (or do not expect perfection)
Andare per la maggioreGo for the greaterChosen by the majority. Trendy. E.g. Questo colore va per la maggiore. = This color is trendy.
Andare storto / Non andare per il verso giustoGo crooked / Do not go in the right directionGo wrong. Proceeding not successfully. E.g. La giornata è andata storta = The day went wrong.
Andarsene alla chetichellaLeaving silentlyLeave in secret, without making any noise. E.g. Se ne è andato alla chetichella. = He left without making a noise.
Animale da palcoscenicoStage animalIt is said of a singer or an actor's extremely comfortable and expressive on stage.
A occhio e croceWye and crossApproximately, more or less.
A ogni pié sospintoAt every turnEverywhere, everywhere. All the time.
A onor del vero / A voler essere obiettivi / Per dirla tuttaTo tell the truth / To want to be objective / To put it bluntlyTo speak out all the things regardnig a certain matter.
A pallaAt full capacity or speedWorkinf or driving to the maximum speed.
A piede liberoOn the looseWithout constraints - without chain and iron ball and chain - as they had the prisoners in the past.
A più non possoAt most I canIndicates a huge amount.
Appendere (le scarpe) al chiodoAppend (shoes) to the nailThe expression, often used in sports, means “retire from racing.” It can also be extended to any member of a professional group that decides to withdraw. The “shoes” in these cases are replaced by a similar “tools of the trade”, for example, a cyclist hang the bike on the nail, hang a skater shoes, etc..
Apprendista stregoneThe Sorcerer's ApprenticeIt is said of an irresponsible person, that making use of instruments or systems that can not handle, is likely to cause irreversible damage.
Apriti, cielo!Open up, the sky!Exclamation which comments in the beginning of a critical event excitedly.
A quattro ganasceA four-jawIt indicates a great appetite. Someone eating in great quantity. Devour. E.g. Sta mangiando a quattro ganasce. = He is eating eagerly.
A quattro palmentiWith four millstonesItis used to indicate a way of eating fast and greedy, synonymous with overeating. “Palmenti” is a synonym for “millstone”, such as those used in the mills. Then grind in large quantities, like four millstones.
A ragion vedutaKnowing the reasonsAfter having known the reasons, you can decide wisely, appropriately.
Argento vivoQuicksilverThe quicksilver is mercury, which has the same color to silver, but it is liquid. It is said to people who have a great vitality: “He has the quicksilver!”
Aria fritta(Fried or) hot airIt is said of an idea, a project, a speech, inconclusive, evanescent, lacking in substance and foundation.
Armata BrancaleoneBrancaleone armyHeterogeneous jumble of people. The term originates with the eponymous film by Mario Monicelli (1966).
Armiamoci e partiteLet us arm ourselves, you goThe ironic exhortation refers to those who have the courage to act in the first person and prefers to go ahead the others. The phrase, a clear parody of military style and in particular Mussolini. It is pronounced, for example, by Toto in the film Toto vs. Maciste (1962). In 1971 he became also the title of a film by Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia.
A rotta di colloBreakneckReported almost always in a race, even in a metaphorical sense, perhaps along a slope of a subject so fast as to risk breaking his neck in a fall.
Arrampicarsi sui vetri / sugli specchiClimbing on the windows / on mirrorsStriving in vain to support an impossible idea. Try to justify personal mistakes. Windows and mirrors, being very smooth, leave no foothold.
Arriva la cavalleriaHere comes the cavalry.Similar to “Arrivano i nostri”.
Arrivano i nostriThere you goIt is usually said when someone comes to the rescue of those in need. The phrase originates from the classic western movie, in which the providential arrival of the cavalry saved the protagonists from certain death.
Ascesa e cadutaRise and FallSimilar to the “vita morte e miracoli”
Asilo MariucciaKindergarten Mariuccia Said of a situation in which many behave in a childlike way, takes its name from an institution which still exists today in Milan (which is not a kindergarten).
Aspetta e speraWait and seeExpression taken from the most famous song of the colonial fascist regime (written in 1935 by Renato Micheli). This expression is used to indicate unfulfilled promises.
Aspettando GodotWaiting for GodotThe title of the famous work of Samuel Beckett has come to mean to wait for something that does not come, and who is waiting does nothing to ensure that this happens.
A spron battutoA spur beatLiterally “prodding repeatedly with the spur.” It imply forcing the pace, driving or working to the maximum speed.
Assalto alla diligenzaAssault to the DiligenceAttack, even metaphorically, conducted with overwhelming force and so violent and disorderly, to a target value. It originates from the stereotypes of the western movie, in which the coaches, who travel regularly isolated and lightly defended in hostile territories, are attached or taken in ambush by bands of outlaws. By extension, then any action taken in this way. Other than “shoot the red cross” because of the implicit connotation of loot possible in the goods transported by the diligence.
Asso nella manicaAce in the sleeveAce in the hole. Having a winning solution yet undisclosed but also very unexpected. The ace, in fact, in many games of cards is the card with the highest value. In the past cheaters they used to hide an ace in the sleeves for cheating in a more hidden way.
A stecchettoA stickWith little food, a diet. E.g. Sono a stecchetto = I am on diet
Attaccare bottoneAttach buttonBegin in an improvised way a conversation with an unknown person. E.g. Lui attacca bottone con tutti quelli che incontra = He starts a conversation with everyone he meets.
Attaccarsi al tramStick to the tramThe term has its origin in the ability of passengers of the slowest tram from the past to travel, in any case more uncomfortably, remaining clinging to the external structures. Today the term is used figuratively to indicate the situation of those who are forced to give up a goal, for not having achieved the necessary conditions to obtain (for example, those who came out of time to a commitment and you have to give up or loses a turn or it is excluded). Equivalent to “forget it”/“you can forget it”.
A tutta birraAt full speedFull speed ahead. Probably derives from a mistranslation of the French à toute bride (“a whole bridle”).
A tutto gasAt full throttleVariant (more correct) of “A tutta birra”.
A tutto spianoA full blastWithout limitation. The “spiano” was the measure of the amount of grain given to bakers for bread. Today it indicates something distributed without limitation.
A ufoFor freeWithout paying, originally under a provision above, now generally with a negative connotation such as a preference for perceived as arbitrary.
A un bel momentoIn a beautiful momentSome time, but without prior notice or arbitrarily.
Auguri e figli maschiBest wishes and sonsTypical greeting of farewell directed to the newlyweds. The birth of the phrase is linked to a patriarchal conception of society, in which the arrival of male children are more desirable.
A un palmo dal nasoA palm away from his nose.It indicates the item is veryvclose to the person, so closed to be easily seen.
A un tiro di schioppoA shootgun awayAt a stone's throw away. Very close, as the distance of a rifle (gun).
Avanti tuttaFull speed aheadNautical phrase, which literally means to travel with the engines of the boat at the maximum power in order to go as fast as possible.
Avere il cuore in golaTo have your heart in your throatBeing so excited that you can barely speak.
Avere il dente avvelenatoHave poison in you toothHaving a grudge. Being angry.
Avere il pelo sullo stomacoHaving the hair on the stomach Be cold and cynical.
Avere la coda di pagliaHave the tail of strawHaving a guilty conscience. A person with “guilty conscience” is acting among the other with suspicion, fearing that someone came to know his sins or his flaws.
Avere la sindrome del genio incompresoHave the syndrome of the misunderstood geniusDeem not to be understood fully from the others because of their alleged high intelligence or because of the alleged inferiority of others.
Avere l'acquolina in boccaHaving saliva in your mouthLiterally refers to the salivation that so often uncontrollable rages at the sight or thought of a particularly delicious food (conditioned reflex). It is used to indicate situations that draw our attention because they offer the prospect of a simple, immediate and positive benefit.
Avere le braccine corteHave short arms.It is said of person who tends to be stingy in spending their savings. Probably derives from the ancient habit that sellers of fabrics had, in measuring the cloth to sell according to the length of their arm. If the seller would stretched out his arm a little less than the maximum extension possible, the result would be to give out less fabric, but applying in case the full price.
Avere le mani legateHave their hands tiedBeing unable to perform an action or to help someone in a difficult situation.
Avere le pezze al culoHaving patches on the bottomTo be truly poor in economic terms.
Avere/sentire le farfalle nello stomacoHave / feel butterflies in the stomachThe strange feeling in the stomach that feels who is in love.
Avere le mani bucateHaving holes in your handsBeing a spendthrift.
(Avere un) conto in sospeso(Having a) to settleLiterally has a claim; figuratively: you have been wronged, which then you might want to request a repair, apologies etc. or “pay back” or revenge.
Avere un groppo in golaHave a knot in the throat Having a lump in the throat. Not being able to speak with your normal emotions.
Avere voce in capitoloHave a voice in the chapterHave a say.Have the authority to speak, receive due consideration, see allowed its position in regard to a certain topic.


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