As I promised last week, here comes the second part of the Italian idiomatic phrases that have something to do with animals.
If you missed last week’s post, you may want to check it out as it contained a list of Italian idiomatic phrases that are related to animals.
I started this kind of post a few weeks ago, with a couple of articles containing a list of food-related Italian phrases (you’ll find the first one here and the second one here). Since you guys liked it and found them useful, I thought it would be nice to do another round of posts – this time devoted to animals.
As I did for food-related sayings, I created a downloadable pdf file containing the list of all 50 Italian idiomatic phrases that are related to animals, because I thought it could be handy for you to have a list to keep or print-out for future reference.
You can find the file in Your Italian Toolbox, a section of Instantly Italy where you’ll find Italian learning materials. You can get access to it by subscribing here.
Let’s now see some other animal-related Italian sayings!
Avere un occhio di lince
Literal meaning: to have the eye of a lynx
Actual meaning: to have very good sight
Avere un tarlo in testa
Literal meaning: to have woodworm in your head
Actual meaning: to be obsessed with a certain thought
Avere una fame da lupi
Literal meaning: to have the hunger of wolves
Actual meaning: to be very hungry
Avere la memoria di un elefante
Literal meaning: to have the memory of an elephant
Actual meaning: to have a very good memory
Allevare una serpe in seno
Literal meaning: to raise a snake in your bosom
Actual meaning: to behave well with someone who can be a possible threat
Conosco i miei polli
Literal meaning: I know my chickens
Actual meaning: I know those I have to do with
E’ un cane che si morde la coda
Literal meaning: it’s a dog biting its tail
Actual meaning: something that has no meaning, that doesn’t take you anywhere
Fa un freddo cane!
Literal meaning: it’s a dog’s cold
Actual meaning: it is really cold
Essere come cane e gatto
Literal meaning: to be like dog and cat
Actual meaning: used to describe two people who always fight
Ci sono quattro gatti
Literal meaning: there are four cats
Actual meaning: there is nobody
Quando il gatto con c’è, i topi ballano
Literal meaning: when the cat is away, the mice dance
Actual meaning: when someone who rules (like a parent in the family, or the boss of a company, or the teacher at school) is away, the others behave as they like
Non dire gatto se non ce l’hai nel sacco
Literal meaning: don’t say cat if it’s not in your sack
Actual meaning: don’t celebrate something if you are not sure you have obtained it
Avere una gatta da pelare
Literal meaning: to have a cat to peel
Actual meaning: to have a big problem
Cielo a pecorelle acqua a catinelle
Literal meaning: sky in sheep, water in basins
Actual meaning: when the clouds in the sky take the shape of little sheep, it is probably going to rain
Meglio un uovo oggi che una gallina domani
Literal meaning: it’s better an egg today than a chicken tomorrow
Actual meaning: it is better to be satisfied with what you have
La prima gallina che canta ha fatto l’uovo
Literal meaning: the first chicken singing has laid the egg
Actual meaning: when something happens, the first person speaking is usually the culprit
È una gallina dalle uova d’oro
Literal meaning: it’s an egg that lays golden eggs
Actual meaning: someone who can make you earn a lot of money
Prendere due piccioni con una fava
Literal meaning: to take two pigeons with just one fava bean
Actual meaning: to reach two goals with just one action
Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio
Literal meaning: the wolf loses its hair, but doesn’t lose its bad habit
Actual meaning: bad people do not change
C’è un tempo da lupi
Literal meaning: there is a wolves’ weather
Actual meaning: there is really bad weather
Mogli e buoi dei paesi tuoi
Literal meaning: wives and oxen from your hometown
Actual meaning: it’s always better to marry someone coming from the same place as you
Mangiare come un uccellino
Literal meaning: to eat like a bird
Actual meaning: to eat very little
Dormire come un ghiro
Literal meaning: to sleep like a dormouse
Actual meaning: to sleep very deeply
Ragno porta guadagno
Literal meaning: spiders bring earnings
Actual meaning: it is a common belief that spiders bring money
Non cavare un ragno dal buco
Literal meaning: not to take a spider out of a hole
Actual meaning: when you obtain nothing, even if you tried and tried
I hope you enjoyed this list of Italian sayings. If you missed the first part of the post, you’ll find it here.
As I told you at the beginning of this post, I have prepared a pdf file with all the words and phrases we learned in this post. You can find it in Your Italian Toolbox, a section of Instantly Italy where you’ll find Italian learning materials. You can get access to it by subscribing here.
If you are interested in improving your Italian language skills, I’d suggest you check Chiacchieriamo, your way of chatting with an Italian without moving from home.
Chiacchieriamo is a Skype chat that helps you practice your Italian with a native speaker, gaining the confidence you need when speaking the language.
If you want to give it a try, you can request a 30-minute free chat, so that we can meet each other and see if you like the service.