Italian expressions and numbers. An unusual and funny combination if you look at the literal translation.

In one of my previous posts, I talked about some interesting idioms of the Italian language that only Italians can understand – Italian expressions not so easy to understand.- Today I’m going to focus my attention on the Italian expressions that use numbers, and I guarantee you some entertaining fun.

Let’s go from the lowest to the highest number:

  • Andare a fare due/quattro passi, to go do two/four steps. We actually want to say – to go for a walk.
  • Fare due/quattro chiacchiere, to do two/four chats. It stands for – to have a chat.
  • Chi fa da se fa per tre, one who does for himself, does for three. That means, you’d better do things yourself rather than waiting for someone else to do it.
  • A quattr’occhi, at four eyes. Basically two people, four eyes. We use it when we need to talk privately to someone. Parliamo a quattr’occhi.
  • In quattro e quattr’otto, in four and four eight. This expression is used when something is done quickly, very fast, like 4+4 = 8
  • Quattro gatti, four cats. To say that very few people are present, we literally say – there are four cats – ci sono quattro gatti.
  • Avere i cinque minuti, to have the five minutes. If we are very upset and angry, we say that we are having the five minutes.
  • Sudare sette camicie, to sweat seven shirts. It means – to work very hard.-
  • Essere al settimo cielo, to be on the seventh sky.To be very happy.
  • Un quarantotto!, a forty eight! This expression is used to indicate chaos, confusion, and disorder. Its origin comes for the revolution of 1848 that spread all around Europe. A series of republican revolts against European monarchies, beginning in Sicily, and spreading to France, Germany, Italy, and the Austrian Empire. Because of this chaotic time of our history, we use this expression when something bad and chaotic happened. È successo un quarantotto!
  • Grazie mille, thank you thousand! It translates to – thank you very much.

I haven’t mentioned all of them, but I don’t want to keep you for too long! Hope you have enjoyed these Italian Fun Facts and feel free to add other expressions to the comments below!

Thank you for reading!

Grazie mille!!!!



5 responses to “Italian expressions and numbers. An unusual and funny combination if you look at the literal translation.

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