Italian Idiom: Ogni morte di papa (once in a blue moon)

If you wish to convey that something occurs infrequently, or to use an English idiom, “once in a blue moon,” you can employ the Italian idiomatic expression (a) ogni morte di papa. (a) ogni morte di papa rarely / once in a blue moon The literal translation of this phrase is “with every death of …

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Italian Idiom: Stare / essere sul pezzo (to be on the ball)

Stare sul pezzo in Italian translates to being “on the ball”, “with it” or “on top of things” in English. It’s the perfect colloquial idiom to describe someone who is alert, attentive, and up-to-date with what’s going on around them. A variation on this idiom is essere sul pezzo, which replaces the verb stare (“to …

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Italian Idiom: Sputa il rospo! (Spit it out!)

Sputare il rospo is an Italian idiom that literally translates to “spit out the toad” in English. This expression figuratively conveys the act of finally confessing something that one couldn’t or didn’t want to say, such as a secret, concern, or source of anxiety. It more or less equates to the English “to spit something …

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Italian Idiom: Tutto fa brodo (Every little bit helps)

Italians love their food idioms, so much so that even the humble broth (brodo) has made its way into an everyday expression! Tutto fa brodo literally translates to “everything makes broth“. Just as any kind of vegetable or meat can become broth when boiled, any contribution to a goal or cause, no matter how small, …

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Italian Idiom: Gettare la spugna (to throw in the sponge / towel)

In the sport of boxing, boxers, their trainers, or their corner attendants, would throw the sponge or towel used to wipe the boxer’s face into the ring to signal defeat and the end of the fight. This act produced the idiomatic sayings gettare la spugna (literally “to throw the sponge”) in Italian, and to throw …

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