Italian Word of the Day: A crepapelle (to the point of bursting)

Crepapelle, or more specifically a crepapelle, is one of those Italian expressions that does not have a direct English equivalent. Comprising the words crepare (to crack / to die) and pelle (skin), it describes various actions that are carried out to the point of bursting or to the breaking point.

/a cre·pa·pèl·le/

The best way to understand how it is used is to memorise the set idiomatic expressions in which it appears. Those most likely to occur in everyday speech are:

Ridere a crepapelle

Ridere = to laugh
To split one’s sides with laughter. To burst out laughing.

Far ridere (qualcuno) a crepapelle

Far ridere = to make laugh
To crack (someone) up. To have (someone) in fits.

Vietnamese young people laughing and drinking champagne at party
Il tuo amico mi ha fatto ridere a crepapelle ieri sera! = Your friend had me in stitches last night!

La prima parte del film mi ha fatto ridere a crepapelle, la seconda mi ha strappato le lacrime!

The first part of the film cracked me up, the second part left me in tears!


A few other verbs can also be used with a crepapelle but they appear less in spoken language and more in literature.

Mangiare a crepapelle

Mangiare = to eat
To eat until you burst.

Riempirsi a crepapelle

Riempirsi = to fill oneself
To stuff one’s face.

Bere a crepapelle

Bere = to drink
To drink oneself under the table.

Sghignazzare a crepapelle

Sghignazzare = to laugh scornfully
To laugh scornfully and uncontrollably.

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