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5 Italian Idioms About Animals

What is an idiom? It is a phrase or expression whose meaning is figurative. Italians have many idioms about animals – and some are very funny.

Learning Italian means understanding its culture, the way people actually speak in their everyday life, and knowing the idioms can really give you an insight into the Italian culture!

1) Trattare qualcuno a pesci in faccia. (to treat someone with fishes on your face)

Maria l’ha trattato a pesci in faccia – Giovanni lo meritava!

Especially in Southern Italy, this expression means to treat someone desrespecfully, like slapping his/her face with a fish – which I bet would not be nice!

2) Non dire gatto se non ce l’hai nel sacco. (Don’t say cat until you have it in the sack)

How could anyone ever forget Trapattoni’s magnificent performance? Italians certainly can’t.

“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch”. See? Knowing the idioms in the target language can save you from situations like these! 🙂 Just kidding, that’s why we love you, Trap.

3) Chi dorme non piglia pesci. (the sleeping man catches no fishes)

Makes sense. “The early bird catches the worm”.


4) Il lupo perde il pelo ma non il vizio (the wolf may lose the hairs, not the bad habits)

Oh, one of my favourites, straight from Cappuccetto Rosso. “A leopard cannot change its spots”.


5) La gatta frettella fece i micini ciechi. (the hasty cat gave birth to blind kittens)

The English version is much shorter, “haste makes waste”, but the meaning is the same: if you do things in a hurry, you won’t get big results.


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