Sometimes when I speak a foreign language I feel like a “pesce fuor d’acqua” . And so I end up being “muto come un pesce”. How many ways to say fish in Italian! Here are some!
Pesce fuor d’acqua and other fish idioms – 1
“Essere muto/silent come un pesce,/fish” is not advisable for a student of Italian because to practice the language you have to speak. If someone treats you “a pesci /fishes in faccia/on the face” you can also get angry because it means they’re insulting you or having offensive behavior with you. In extraordinary cases in a hostile or different environment you might feel “un pesce /fish fuor d’acqua/out of the water” but don’t let it get you down, instead “buttatevi/jump in a pesce” that means to approach the situation with enthusiasm and energy.
Fish idioms- 2
But it is not over because Italian creativity with the word fish sees other idiomatic phrases. “Chi dorme non piglia pesci/Those who sleep don’t catch any fish” or “Il pesce puzza dalla testa/the fish stinks from the head” or “L’ospite è come il pesce dopo tre giorni puzza/The guest is like fish: it smells after three days” are other sayings that help us to express in a synthetic way concepts that would need many more words. The first one corresponds to the English, “The early bird catches the worm”. The second one means corruption starts at the top. The last one means that if you are a guest at somebody’s place you should be polite and not stay too long, but know when to leave before becoming intruding and invade one’s privacy.
Fish and other animals – 3
There are also proverbs with other animals, too. For example with ferocious animals like: “essere una tigre di carta” or “vendere la pelle dell’orso prima di averlo ucciso” or “cavalcare la tigre”. But also with insects or parts of animals related to our daily lives: “morire come le mosche” or “bruciarsi le ali” or “avere le zampe di gallina” or “abbassare la cresta”.
Have you ever heard such idioms? Think about their meaning and share your ideas with us!