Italian Idioms starting with L
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La mia metà (= my other half)
This manner of speaking, used by both men and women to refer to their spouses, dates back to Plato's philosophy: in the Symposium, he presents the myth of the androgyne, a creature half man and half woman. According to the Plato, androgynes were so proud of themselves to cause resentment of Zeus, who, to punish them, cut them in half, separating the sexes. Men and women, since then, have been going in search of their missing half. For Plato, love is essentially a need, a desire to be completed.
lacrime di coccodrillo (= cry a crocodile's tears)
Meaning "pretend to feel remorse", derives from the physiology of crocodiles, that shed tears to lubricate their eyes. Once it was believed that they weep after devouring prey.
Levare le castagne dal fuoco (= Remove the chestnuts from the fire)
This means to make others run the risks of an enterprise. The phrase comes from a fable by La Fontaine, "The Monkey and the Cat." The two animals were next to a fire where they were roasting chestnuts. At one point the monkey began to praise the qualities of the cat, and thus convinced her to use her paws to take the chestnuts out of the fire.