funny italian expressions

Funny Italian Expressions

Italian is one of the languages of choice for many new language learners for a range of reasons.
Many people enjoy the romantic appeal that the Italian language has to it, others jump onto Italian to help make their vacations in Italy or Italian-speaking countries go smoothly and others get inspired from the media around the Italian lifestyle and culture. Italy, itself, is one of the most beautiful countries in the world drawing you into its fantastic language and culture even further.
italian phrases funny
For many, picking up a few Italian phrases is exciting as they can begin to use them in their situations with a native or even when they travel. Whether it is being able to order a reservation or buy a beer when you are on holiday, everything adds up. Learning the Italian expressions that make people laugh can really unlock a relationship you may be looking to start.
Whether it is with a local, or romantic, showing off your humor in another language can be very attractive and rewarding when interacting with the culture behind a language. In this feature, we explore a few helpful ways you can use funny Italian expressions to your advantage/break the ice when you are abroad or speaking with a native speaker. Once you visit Italy this group of expressions will come in handy when you are trying to speak with the natives or the locals.

Why is humor important with Italians?

Italians respect your efforts, whether it’s a short phrase or an attempt at a conversation, most of the time, they’ll congratulate you on putting your all into speaking their mother tongue. As with many languages and culture, humor is very important. For Italians, humor ranks highly as an element of everyday life, in everyday activities, romance, friendship and family get together. Italy loves a combination of these.

Many people when they go abroad tend to avoid the funny expressions in the scarcity, however, for those looking to improve their depth of learning and to go further with their advanced efforts, these Italian expressions might come in handy when you are speaking to a native. Italians, again, will appreciate the effort you go to to make a joke or mention a commonly used expression, so don’t be afraid.

humor is important to italians

Mastering one of these expressions will help you feel like a native, even more so if the reaction from the Italian-speaking is positive.

Funny Italian Expressions

Some of these are very strange but serve as a list of idioms to help add some humor to the conversations and interactions with Italian natives. Make sure to try and place these into context when you use them, they’ll be well-received when placed into the right place in a conversation. These can be used when you are abroad in Italy and taken advantage of when speaking to any Italian speaking individuals.

1. Easier said than done 

  • Italian: “Tra il dire e il fare c’è di mezzo il mare”
  • Literal translation: “There’s a sea between saying and doing”
  • English equivalent/explanation: “Easier said than done


2. Once in a blue moon

  • Italian: “Ogni morte di papa”
  • Literal translation: “Each time a pope dies”
  • English equivalent/explanation: “Once in a blue moon”


3. The early bird gets the worm

  • Italian: “Chi dorme non piglia pesci
  • Literal translation: “Those who sleep don’t catch fish”
  • English equivalent/explanation: “The early bird gets the worm”


4. To have a crush on someones

  • Italian: “Essere cotto di qualcuno
  • Literal translation: “Be cooked of someone”
  • English equivalent/explanation: “To have a crush on someone”


5. Be engraged

  • Italian: “Avere un diavolo per capello
  • Literal translation:  “To have a devil for each hair”
  • English equivalent/explanation:  “Be enraged”


6. Good luck

  • Italian: “In bocca al lupo!”
  • Literal translation: “In the mouth of the wolf!”
  • English equivalent/explanation: “Good luck!” – we have the exact equivalent which would be “Buona fortuna!”


in bocca lupo italian funny phrases

7. Castles in the sky

  • Italian: “Fare i castelli in aria”
  • Literal translation: “To build castles in the sky”
  • English equivalent/explanation: “Day-dreaming deeply”


8. Lions’ pit

  • Italian: “Essere nella fossa dei leoni”
  • Literal translation: “To be in the lions’ pit”
  • English equivalent/explanation: “To find yourself in an extremely difficult situation”


9. Roma with toma…

  • Italian: “Prendere Roma per toma”
  • Literal translation: “To mistake Roma with toma (Italian cheese)”
  • English equivalent/explanation: “Misunderstand something”

10. Take Responsibility

  • Italian: “Hai voluto la bicicletta? Adesso pedala!”
  • Literal translation: “You wanted a bike? Now pedal!”
  • English equivalent/explanation: “You did something, now you have to take responsibility”

11. Not showing up…

  • Italian: “Tirare il pacco”
  • Literal translation: “To throw the package”
  • English equivalent/explanation: “To stand someone up, not show up”


How can I use these expressions?

italian vespa funny phrases

These expressions can be used in the everyday situations as well as in coffee shops, restaurants, and bars. I’d be careful how you use them, using them takes some talent naturally, so attempt them at home before you pronounce them, you don’t want to fail on execution. Expressions are very similar in the UK, if you don’t quite deliver them well, you won’t get the best results.
We recommend you try this once you’ve mastered the basics. If you can’t order a coffee, I wouldn’t give these a go, just yet. Only because you want to focus on perfecting your basic Italian conversation before you get started with the more advanced stuff like this, and putting it into context if you aren’t able to hold a conversation might not go as well as you think when speaking to the native Italian speaker.
Let me know in the comments whether these help and whether you’ve been able to give some of these a go, we’d love to hear from you all! If you’d like to add any additional ones, feel free to add them in the comments too! Thanks for stopping by! 

Francesco D'Alessio

Meet Francesco, part of our marketing team. Francesco is a big fan of everything technology, productivity tools, tea, motorsport and marketing (surprisingly). Feel free to reach out to Francesco and the social team on Twitter @FlashSticks.

One response to “Funny Italian Expressions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Learn any language with FlashAcademy!
Access Resources
Please complete the form below to unlock this resource and hundreds more!
Already filled out the form? Click here to access your account.

Email address does not exist. Click to register.

Go back to the form