Italian Idioms starting with D
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Dare a Cesare quel che è di Cesare (= Give to Caesar what is Caesar's)
The phrase means to give to each what is due, and no more, and is taken from the Gospel , Luke 20, 20, when the scribes, trying to find Jesus at fault against Roman laws, asked him , "Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or not ?" Jesus perceived their craftiness, and said to them: "Why do you test me? Show me a denarius. Whose image and inscription is that?" They answered, "Caesar's." "Render therefore unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's ."
Dare i numeri (= give numbers)
This means to be unreasonable, out of mind: derives from the lotto game and, in particular, from the Neapolitan Smorfia, where a figure arbitrarily corresponds to a number (for example, 90 is fear; 47 is a speaking dead man).
Dare un colpo al cerchio e uno alla botte (= stay in the middle between two opposers)
In building barrels, ancient coopers struck with a hammer heated wooden planks, giving a blow to the stave and one to the circle. The phrase means to avoid taking a clear position, giving a bit to everyone.
Darsi all'ippica (= go horse-riding)
It derives from a historical event: the fascist leader Achille Starace arrived at a medicine conference an hour late. He justified himself by saying: "Do gymnastics and not medicine. Abandon books and give yourself to horseracing".
Di punto in bianco (= suddenly)
This phrase comes from the military jargon, and refers to artillery shooting, when guns fired suddenly, without elevation and with the pointing device "blank", with no value.
Discutere del sesso degli angeli (= discuss of trivial things)
Discussing the sex of angels is equivalent to discussing useless things, wasting time that would be better used for more useful things. The origins of the expression are uncertain, but is thought to date back to the Byzantine period, when theologians were accustomed to debate with each other about the sex of angels, even while the Turks of Mohammed II were about to conquer Constantinople in 1453, and put an end to the Empire Eastern Roman Empire.
Do ut des
It is used to indicate agreements where the mutual benefits are more or less equivalent: "I give so you will give". In ancient times , when there was no money, all trade was carried out according to either of four formulas: "do ut des" ( I'll give you the goods, because you give me another of a different kind); "do ut facias" ( I'll give you the goods, so you will do work for me); " facio ut facias" (I'll work for you, so you will work for me); "facio ut des" (I'll work for you, so you will give me merchandise) .
Dormire sugli allori (= sleep on laurels)
It is said of those who, after some successes, remain inactive, "resting" on their laurels. In antiquity laurel was a symbol of victory and with its leaves Olympic winners and famous poets were crowned.