15 Funny Italian Phrases And Their Meanings

Ling Learn Languages
6 min readJul 12, 2022

Original blog post: https://ling-app.com/it/funny-italian-phrases/

Would you like to know some funny Italian phrases to impress your friends? Italians are friendly and cheerful people who love to joke with friends and have a good time when meeting new people. You can make your friends laugh and look cultured in their eyes if you learn Italian and some funny Italian phrases to show off at the most opportune moments.

So, let’s get started!

Funniest Famous Italian Sayings

The best way to go about learning some of the most known Italian sayings is by using them during your conversations with Italian people! In addition, if you want to sound like a native speaker, you might find it helpful to memorize at least a few funny Italian phrases. That way, you can whip them out at a moment’s notice!

Here are some of the best funny Italian expressions:

1.Hai voluto la bicicletta? E adesso pedala — You wanted the bike? Now you’ve got to ride it!

This is an idiom that signifies that you have to take responsibility for what you decided to do. If you desire something, you should not complain about it once you have it. The phrase refers to a bike, but it is an example that can be replaced by anything the person had desired.

2. Cercare il pelo nell’uovo — To nitpick (the literal translation is “find the hair in the egg”)

This phrase means to be picky, in other words, to nitpick. It is used to indicate people who are too precise. It is also used to denote people who criticize and always look for flaws in others and things around them.

3. In bocca al lupo — Into the wolf’s mouth

This is the Italian way to wish luck to other people. Italians usually respond with “crepi il lupo” (exact equivalent: the wolf shall die).

4. Non avere peli sulla lingua — Without hair on the tongue

This phrase refers to a person that expresses an opinion with extreme sincerity and without holding back, even at the cost of sounding rude.

5. Avere la botte piena e la moglie ubriaca — To have the wine cask full and the wife drunk

This phrase indicates people who want to have too much, even beyond what is reasonable. If you have the wine cask full, you can’t get drunk. So, this phrase is a paradox. It indicates that if you desire to have both of something, you’re probably wanting too much of something that just isn’t achievable.

6. Morto un papa se ne fa un altro — Once a pope dies, another is made

This signifies that no one is so important that another person can’t replace them. Once a person is gone, another one is always ready to take over.

6. Chi non risica non rosica — Nothing ventured, nothing gained

This phrase means that you will not get anything back if you are unwilling to take risks.

7. Meglio tardi che mai — Better late than never

This is one of the most famous Italian sayings which means that it is never too late to do something!

8. Uomo avvisato mezzo salvato — Forewarned is forearmed (Literally translated “a man forwarded is half saved”)

This is a funny idiom which means that you can do something to prevent an absolute disaster only if you are advised or alerted to the situation. Typically, Italian say it to other people after advice.

9. Avere le braccine corte — To have short arms

In the Italian language, this sentence indicates a stingy person. In the Italian culture, saying that a person has short arms means that that person is greedy. The term ‘short arms’ comes from the old fact that fabric sellers used to measure the quantities to sell in arms.

10. Tra moglie e marito non mettere il dito — Do not put your finger between wife and husband.

This is an Italian expression that signifies that you should not interfere between two married people. If you violate this rule, disasters can happen.

11. Non tutte le ciambelle riescono col buco — Not all doughnuts come out with a hole

This is an expression that signifies that not everything comes out perfectly. You can always get what you want (doughnuts with holes), but sometimes one of them has a flaw.

12. Occhio non vede, cuore non duole — Eye does not see, heart does not hurt

The literal meaning is close to the actual meaning. It signifies that if you do not know about something, you will not suffer from it. It can also imply that it’s better to not know about something in order to prevent yourself from feeling bad.

13. A pagare e morire c’è sempre tempo — There is always time to pay and die

This phrase signifies that negative things can always wait, insinuating that debts and death are at the same level in terms of importance.

14. Dimmi con chi vai, e ti dirò chi sei — Tell me who you go with, and I’ll tell you who you are

This phrase signifies that it is possible to know a person from their friends and the people they associate with because people often associate with similar people.

15. Tra il dire e il fare c’è di mezzo il mare — Between saying and doing, there is the sea

This phrase means that it is easy to speak about something, but doing it is a whole different story. In other words, saying you’ll do something is not the same as actually doing it.

16. Chi si accontenta gode — Those who are satisfied, enjoy

This phrase means that you do not always need to try to get more than what is necessary to be satisfied. In fact, sometimes trying to reach for more can lead to unhappiness or even losing what has already been accomplished.

Ready To Learn More Italian?

Congratulations! You’ve learned so many Italian sayings and funny Italian phrases! To add even more words to your vocabulary, you can check out our posts on Italian Colors and Happy Birthday In Italian.

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