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 a pope”. Used in a hyperbolic sense, this expression emphasises the infrequent nature of a pope’s passing.
Ormai uso il telefono fisso a ogni morte di papa. Preferisco il cellulare.
I rarely use my landline these days. I prefer my cellphone.
Sometimes people will say una volta ogni morte di papa, with una volta meaning “once.”
A variation on this idiom swaps papa with another religious figure, il vescovo (bishop).
Cantanti come Freddy Mercury nascono ogni morte di vescovo.
Singers like Freddy Mercury are born once in a blue moon.
Some possible synonyms for this idiom include:
- raramente = rarely
- di rado = rarely
- poco frequente = infrequent
- infrequentemente = infrequently
- quasi mai = almost never
- di tanto in tanto = every now and then
Heather Broster is a graduate with honours in linguistics from the University of Western Ontario. She is an aspiring polyglot, proficient in English and Italian, as well as Japanese, Welsh, and French to varying degrees of fluency. Originally from Toronto, Heather has resided in various countries, notably Italy for a period of six years. Her primary focus lies in the fields of language acquisition, education, and bilingual instruction.