Table of Contents

Italian idioms: Letter E,F,G,H


E compagnia bellaAnd lovely companyThe manner of speaking, a more colorful version of the expression “etc.”
Elogio sperticatoExcessive praisePraise excessive paradoxical. The “sperticato” was an ancient unit of measurement of land.
Eminenza grigiaGrey EminencePersonality with the highest authority not officially recognized.
Eroi della sesta giornataHeroes of the sixth dayCowards and opportunists who try to grab the merits and benefits of the efforts of others.
Errore sesquipedaleError sesquipedaleLatin unit of measurement, the sesquipeda measured a foot and a half. It took the meaning of huge mistake.
Essere a casa di DioBeing in God's houseIt is said of a place far away.
Essere ai ferri cortiBe at loggerheadsArguing, referring to a contrast that gets bitter and bitter, until you get to a clash seriously.
Essere alla canna del gasBe into the gas pipeHave reached the end of its existence and of its own forces. Alludes to the fact that the gas that pass in the pipe will soon be burned.
Essere alla fruttaBe on the fruitHave reached the end of its existence, or of its own forces, or their hopes, or the like. Alludes to the fruit as a final part of the meal.
Essere al verdeBeing in the greenRemain penniless.
Essere di corvéeBeing on corvéeBe used in activities' unrewarding or usually do not bear fruit
Essere duro da grattareBe hard to scratchYouth slang expression that means being very drunk. Used a lot in Emilia-Romagna. Hard to scratch is the similarity with the Parmesan cheese that is suitable when very hard to be grated over a dish of pasta.
Essere d'uopoBeing of uopoLatinismo (opus them) it means to be necessary, appropriate.
Essere l'anima della festaBe the life of the partyBe the one having a strong personality, keeping, with his words and performances, the party alive.
Essere una buona lana / Essere un furbo di tre cotteBeing a good wool / Be a smart cooked threeBeing a disreputable smart-ass.
Essere un pezzo di paneBeing a piece of breadBeing an extremely good.
Essere un pezzo di ghiaccioBeing a piece of iceRemain impassive in the face of an event,both joyful or sad, going on.
Età delle caverneAge CaveThe time when men were still living in caves. It is sometimes used in the sense of parody, to allude to a very early period.
Età dell'oroGolden AgeAge mythical origins, where the man lived happily in harmony with itself and nature. The concept and the expression belong to the tradition of classical greek and latin, where this Age coincided with the reign of Saturn, father of the father of the gods in charge, Jupiter.
È tutto direIt's all sayIt is said of a sentence that does not require explanations or comments.
È un altro paio di manicheIt's a different pair of sleevesIt's a different kettle of fish. It indicates that the second solution, or the same but clearly explained, is much more acceptable and reasonable then the first solution.Between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries some clothes were packed with furniture and sleeves could replace, to beautify the dress in different ways each time. From here, the way of saying which means something completely different, as were the sleeves of clothes.


Faccia di bronzoBrass faceGall.Expression used to refer to people who can not remain impassive in the most embarrassing, without blushing when they are publicly insults or proven wrong. Meaning “shameless audacity,”. Another example: “Gabriel replied with bronze face unprecedented,” the novel by Mark Buticchi. People with a bronze face are particularly good in the game of poker.
Facile come bere un bicchier d'acquaAs easy as drinking a glass of waterMetaphor that shows how a certain action is (or is deemed) very easy.
Fare acqua da tutte le partiLosing water from all sidesBe flawed, be useless for purpose. As a container that “holds water” (lose water) and is therefore useless. Of an argument or a realization: that is unconvincing, ineffective. E.g. Il tuo discorso fa acqua da tutte le parti = Your talk is losing water from all sides (not convincing).
(Fare) a pari e patta / Senza vincitori né vinti(Be) to a draw / no winners or losers“Equal and flap” is jargon chess, sport expressions are intended literally, figuratively mean the end of a contest, in which there is not a clear winner.
Fare buon viso a cattivo giocoShow a nice facial expression on a bad gameHaving a positive attitude even in an unfavorable situation, for example, which does not give satisfaction to an antagonist who wants to put the subject in difficulty. Not showing your feeling of angriness.
Fare cileccaMisfireThe “dud” in Italian, is the commitment not want / be able to carry it out (it is said, for example the man who fails to complete sexual intercourse).
Fare di tutta l'erba un fascioDo the whole lumpGeneralize too much. Literally, it means collecting all sorts of herbs in a single beam, without them apart. In a metaphorical sense, thus describes the attitude of considering a single set confused and indistinct. The expression as a clear peasant origin.
Fare favilleMaking sparksSucceed, be especially good in a specific activity
Fare filottoFare-rowAchieve positive results in a succession of events, such as who wins many consecutive games. Derived from the game of billiards called “Italian” where it is represented the killing of a row of pins in their typical disposition of a cross, which gives to those who does according to specific criteria, and a good score.
Fare il candelabroMaking the candlestickPlease consult under the R letter: “Reggere il moccolo”.
Fare il fenomenoMaking the phenomenonPhainómenon, in ancient greek is the present participle of the verb pháinomai, meaning “appear”. Who “makes the phenomenon,” behaving in a unusually exceptional way.
Fare il peloMaking the hairHaving the habit of saying evil of someone in front of others.
Fare il portogheseDo the PortugueseSneak to an event where it is expected to pay a ticket.
Fare la pelle (a qualcuno)Making the skin (someone)Kill
Fare l'avvocato del diavoloBe the Devil's AttorneyTry to defend something that does not deserve to be defended at all.
Fare la punta agli aghiMaking the tip of the needlesBeing overly precise or meticoulus
Fare le corna a qualcunoMaking the horns to someoneCheating in a relationship. The “cornuto” is the victim of adultery, while the adulterer is the one giving “horns” to the spouse.
Fare le scarpeMake shoesHurting someone, try to usurp the position, win a competition against someone.
Fare lo gnorri, fare l'indianoMaking dumb, making the IndianActing like a dumb; pretend not to understand or not to hear.
Fare mente localeMake up your mindTo refocus the situation in context. It is to take into consideration what you are dealing with. It is often cited as a need of the individual to clarify, reorganise the elements of its vision in his mind.
Fare pelo e contropeloShaving with backwordsScolding harshly. Query in a way very tight way.
Fare quadratoMake squareArranged together in defence of their common position. It is borrowed from the military jargon when, to face an enemy that attacks on several fronts, the infantry were arranged in square formation, covering each other's backs.
Fare quattro saltiHaving four jumpsTo dance
Fare San Martino perform St MartinMoving. By custom, which has now disappeared, to terminate agricultural contracts on the day of St. Martin, which is the 11th of November
Fare spallucceShrugExpressing ignorance of a fact.
Fare trentunoDo thirty-oneAdvise, afeter have reached a certain point of a process, to get to the end of it. For example, a person who has to buy a new car, and it is uncertain whether or not to include an option, he can receive from a friend the advise to spend a little more and buy a car meeting his needs: “You did thirty: do thirtyone, and include that optional feature.”
Farina del mio saccoFlour of my bagIndicates that what has worked - an idea, a work of art, a book - was not copied from anyone.
Far fuoriPolish offExpression of spoken language that can be used with two meanings: “to kill an enemy”, it means to kill someone, but can also take a metaphorical meaning, for example, when referring to a person who aspires to a prestigious position, and having a rival contending the place, manages to eliminate the competitor, with systems not necessarily fare.
Far ridere i polliCause the chickens to laughBehave in a ridiculous way, arousing the general laugh. Especially used for making fun of those who consider themselves capable of doing something, when it was not really so.
Far saltare la mosca al nasoBlowing up the fly on the noseIrritate, provoke someone
Farla sempre francaDo it always free (without consequences)Always escape without being recognised.
Farla pagare (cara)Make him/her pay a lotAn expression that means “revenge”. Ex: I'll make him pay (expensively).
Farsi in quattroSplit yourself in (working like) fourBending over backwards. Engage all your forces for a goal.
Farci una croce sopraMake a cross over somethingFinally quit to take care of something, forget about it, stop agonizing over the matter.
Far vedere i sorci verdiCause someone to see the green micePhrase came into use with the victories of an air squadron, the “Sorci Verdi”, famous for the companies in 1937 and 1938. Come into common usage with the sense of a clear victory
Far venire le cinqueWait five o'clockWhen an employee is neither engaged in his work nor interested in his task
Fasciarsi la testa prima di essersela rottaTo bend their heads before having broken itConsidered yourself defeated before you even approach a problem, thus showing an overly apprehension. Opposed to “sell the bear's skin before killing him.”
Fatti non foste a viver come brutiYou were not made to live like brutesQuote from the twenty-sixth Canto of Dante Alighieri.
Fenomeno da baracconeFreakSaid disparagingly of a person who becomes evident (intentionally or not) unacceptable or disgusting.
E noi chi siamo, i figli della serva ?And who are we, children of the servant ?In Tuscany indicates someone appointed for humble works or treated badly
Figlio di buona donnaSon of “good” womanGentle way to say Son of a bitch. Insult, where “good woman” is a euphemism for “prostitute.”
Figlio di N.N.Son of N.N.It comes from the abbreviation of Nomen Nescio (lit. “I do not know the name”), affixed to the parish registers (formerly written in Latin) instead of the names of one or both parents.
Figlio di papàSon of DadIt means a person closely linked to the wealth and power of the family and that does not owe its success to their efforts. Negative connotation.
Figlio di un dio minoreSon of a Lesser GodWho, although in theory the same rights as others, is in fact discriminated.
Figli(u)ol prodigoProdigal sonThe term is derived from the parable of the prodigal son told by Jesus and recorded in Luke's Gospel (15:11-32). The prodigal son is the youngest of two children, who shall obtain his share of the inheritance and squanders it rapidly, falling in a short time to work as a swineherd. He decides to return to his father, who welcomed him with joy. Today we often use the term prodigal son to describe a person who is back on his feet after sincere repentance.
Finché c'è vita c'è speranzaWhile there is life there is hopeExpression suggesting that hope should never die within a man.
Finire sul lastricoEnd up on the streetsFall into poverty.
Finire in braghe di telaEnding up in canvas trousersThe literal meaning is derived from the punishment in the Middle Ages in Padua was imposed to creditors failed, after which they were stripped of their clothes and were covered with only a shirt and breeches.
Fischiare le orecchieRinging in your earsYou say it when you have the feeling that someone speaks ill of us.
la frittata è fattaThe omelet is doneThe damage is already done, you cannot change it anymore.
Frutto proibitoForbidden FruitIt refers to what Eva took from the tree (the apple). Something you are not allowed to have.
Fumare come un turcoSmoking as a turkishBeing a heavy smoker, always with a lit cigarette in his mouth.
Fuoco di pagliaFire of strawFlash in the pan. Sudden and shocking but with a very short duration. The straw fire flames immediately develops very high, but runs out quickly.
Fuori dai dentiOut of the teethTalking no secrets, clearly and bluntly.
Fuori dal seminatoOut of sown soilOutside of a defined topic, off topic.
Fuori di testaOut of mindBeing drunk or crazy to the point of not thinking.
Fuori di meloneOut of melon (you head)Be drunk or mad to the point of not reasoning, melon represents in this case the head, the skull.
Furbetti del quartierinoSly ones in the districtA group consisting of individuals which consider themselves smart and powerful, but they can not conceal their provincial narrow-mindedness. Taken from an interception against Stefano Ricucci during Bancopoli.


Galeotto fu il libroJailbird bookFrom the Divine Comedy, Inferno Canto V, the episode of Paolo and Francesca
Gambe in spallaLegs in shoulderThe attitude of one who gives a stampede. It is said of someone having a good pace or running.
Garantito al limoneGuaranteed lemonOnce widespread but now obsolete, comes from an old advertisement of a dishwashing liquid. It underlines that what is said or promised is for sure.
Gatta ci covaCat is hatchingBehind the apparent tranquility, something is happening.
Gatta da pelareRow to hoeA tedious and difficult task.
Gatta mortaDead catWith indifference sly, naive behave, pretending to be distracted as not to arouse the suspicions of the opponent and play it by cunning. Like a cat on the prowl, who pretend to sleep but at the springs moment spring on the unwary bird that got too close.
Gatto di marmoCat marbleA very lazy or slow person.
Gelare il sangue nelle veneFreeze the blood in the veinsResult in sudden terror.
Gettare acqua sul fuocoThrow cold water onWho throws water on the fire, he does groped to turn it off. Similarly, using the phrase as a metaphor, we mean that someone is trying to placate a fight or to remedy an embarrassing situation.
Gettare benzina sul fuocoAdding fuel to the fire.It is a newer version of the phrase traditional throw (or pour) oil on the fire, and now has nearly supplanted the original sentence. The meaning of the metaphor is clear: those who “throws gasoline”, far from being interested in appeasing a fight or an argument, on the other hand are going to make it even harsher. Other variants: add fuel to the fire and fan the flames.
Gettare fango suThrow mud onDiscredit, speak ill of someone or something.
Gettare il bambino con l'acqua sporcaThrow the baby out with the bathwaterThe proverbial expression condemns the attitude of those who, in exceeding the radical or recklessness of an intervention, the risk of losing something important and valuable that should be kept in any case: the way of a hypothetical mother who casually threw out the baby together with the water used to wash it.
Gettare a spugnaThrow in the towelSurrender. It comes from the jargon of boxing when he threw himself symbolically the opponent to surrender the towel used to wash the wounds of combat (today we use to throw a towel into the ring).
Girare il coltello nella piagaTurn the knifeFocus on a well known problem, causing stress.
Gli anni verdiThe green yearsYouth.
La goccia che ha fatto traboccare il vasoThe drop causing the vase to ocerflowThe straw that broke the camel's back. Another fact in itself is not important, which caused a huge reaction to discontent due to a difficult and complex situation.
Grande FratelloBig BrotherThe complex history of this expression is born with the Italian translation of the novel 1984 by George Orwell (1948), set in a totalitarian future where the “Big Brother” is the undisputed leader of a regime based on the control of consciousness. One of the most famous slogans of the novel is “Big Brother is watching you”: in fact, the novel predicted the future widespread distribution of television sets, not only as a means of entertainment, but also control: TVs in 1984 also function as cameras spying the “citizens” and can never be extinguished. In subsequent years, the term Big Brother becomes synonymous with “society of control”: left foreshadowing of a power that is able to use technology to penetrate the privacy of citizens. At the end of the nineties, the term Big Brother gives its name to a revolutionary television format: the reality show. In practice, it is a non-stop live TV, a closed environment where a group of people cannot escape the eye of “Big Brother”, ie the camera. The television format debuted in Italy in 2000, and it was immediately a great success.Today the term is often used to refer to the reality show, and as a result has lost some of the original meaning.
Grande VecchioBig oldThe sense of an elderly man with a considerable history behind it, possibly prestigious, a venerable and on the other assuming the presence of a vertex directed by occult, even its own staff (with reference to both historical and legendary figure the Old Man of the Mountain and his sect of Assassins): a strategist in charge of everything, especially of a political project on large-scale, possibly criminal, and in any event beyond the control of democratic, a large “puppet” sole or main is “pulling the strings” of every event and then plot.
Grilli per la testaWhimsWith regard to ideas and thoughts of someone, and clear and unclear ideas such as to render unreliable the person being put to bearer: spontaneous ideas and desires but unrealistic or trespassing, reckless assumptions action typical of the youngest and most bizarre personality.


Hai voluto la bicicletta? (E adesso) pedala!)You've made ​​your bed? (And now) ride!)Metaphorical and rhetorical question that arises in those who show signs of impatience for an object that, previously, he wanted so insistently, in particular in the event that reveals a certain commitment or obligation resulting from the subsequent possession. But it is said also to confirm in action project finally in operation: it is the time to act, not to give up, to face the new perspective that was expected and what time you go materialising. The effect may also extend to actions carried out or even in circumstances where the subject itself has caused.
Hai visto maiHave you ever seenExpression used at the beginning of sentence to give a warning. Ex: Be careful! Have you ever seen a few meetings maniac!


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