Italian Proverbs: Proverbi Italiani

Italian Sayings, Proverbs, Adages, Mottos, Epigrams and Aphorisms


A buon intenditor poche parole.
English translation: Few words to the good listener.
Idiomatic meaning: A word to the wise is sufficient.

A caval donato non si guarda in bocca.
English translation: Don't look a gift horse in the mouth.

A chi dai il dito si prende anche il braccio.
English translation: Give them a finger and they'll take the arm.
Idiomatic meaning: Give them an inch and they'll take a mile.

A ciascuno il suo.
English translation: To each his own.

A confessore, medico e avvocato non tener il ver celato.
English translation: To confessor, doctor, and lawyer do not hide the truth.

A mali estremi, estremi rimedi.
English translation: Desperate times call for desperate measures.

A nemico che fugge, ponti d'oro.
English translation: For the enemy who escapes, golden bridges.

A ogni uccello il suo nido è bello.
English translation: To every bird, his own nest is beautiful.
Idiomatic meaning: There's no place like home.

A rubar poco si va in galera, a rubar tanto si fa cariera.
English translation: Steal a little, go to jail; steal a lot, make a career of it.

A tutto c'è rimedio, fuorchè alla morte.
English translation: There is a cure for everything except death.

Acqua cheta rovina i ponti.
English translation: Silent waters run deep.

Acqua passata non macina più.
English translation: That's water under the bridge.

Aiutati che Dio t'aiuta.
English translation: Help youself and God will help you.
Idiomatic meaning: God helps those who help themselves.

Al bisogno si conosce l'amico.
English translation: A friend in need is a friend indeed.

Al contadino non far sapere quanto è buono il formaggio con le pere.
English translation: Don't let the farmer know how good cheese is with pears.

Ama il prossimo tuo come te stesso.
English translation: Love thy neighbor as thyself.

Ambasciator non porta pena.
English translation: Don't shoot the messenger.

Amico di tutti e di nessuno è tutt'uno.
English translation: A friend to all and a friend to none is one and the same.

Avere le mani in pasta.
English translation: To have a finger in the pie.

Introduction to Italian Proverbs

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Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Proverbs: Proverbi Italiani." ThoughtCo, Jan. 29, 2020, Filippo, Michael San. (2020, January 29). Italian Proverbs: Proverbi Italiani. Retrieved from Filippo, Michael San. "Italian Proverbs: Proverbi Italiani." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 27, 2023).