Italian Idioms starting with E
Idioms are a key aspect in language learning, often connected to the history and culture of a nation. Here some idioms beginning with E- are translated and explained.
Idioms Ordered Alphabetically
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È un altro paio di maniche (= It's another pair of sleeves)
Meaning "it is a different matter", the term derives from a medieval custom, when for practical or decorative need, clothes were accompanied by spare sleeves and people could choose sleeves matching their chosen garment.
Esercito di Franceschiello (= Franceschielo's army)
It is said, ironically, of an organization, military or otherwise, that arouses pity and laughter for its inefficiency. Such was the reputation, built through dozens of anecdotes, of the army of Francis II of Bourbon (1836-1894), nicknamed "Franceschiello", the last king of the Two Sicilies before the unification of Italy.
Essere al settimo cielo (= to be in the 7th sphere of Heaven.)
This expression, meaning to be at the peak of happiness, comes from the Aristotelian -Ptolemaic philosophy at the basis also of Dante's Comedy, according to which the earth is in the center of the universe, surrounded by seven concentric heavens. In the 8th heaven there are the fixed stars (the "firmament"), and in the 9th God. Therefore the 7th heaven was the highest degree of elevation for men.
Essere al verde (= to be in the green)
The expression (being without a penny left) is widespread, but its origin is uncertain. According to medieval custom, at the beginning of public auctions a tallow candle with green paint at its bottom was lit, so when it came to the green, the auction had ended. According to a more recent interpretation, this phrase was born in casinos, where, at the beginning of a game, players have lots of chips covering the table; then when they have lost almost everything, in front of them there is nothing but the green table.
Essere il tredicesimo (= be the 13th (in an unlucky position)
Refers to someone who is always in an uncomfortable position for himself and those around him. The explanation lies in the number, which is traditionally associated to bad omens. During the Last Supper there were thirteen diners: Jesus and the twelve apostles; Judas, the thirteenth, betrayed Jesus.
Essere in bolletta (= to be with a bill)
Being in financial trouble. The "bolletta" was a receipt released by a pawnshop.