Calabrian proverbs: sayings and idioms

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Selection of Calabrian proverbs, sayings and idioms most used in Calabria, including translation into Italian, as testimony to the wisdom of its people.


Calabrian idioms

- Cu vaci cu zoppu, lameness. (Those who go with the lame learn to limp)

- Cunfidenza is the patron of malacrity. (Too much confidence is the result of bad education)


- Whoever goes to ru mulinu, if he learns. (Those who go to the mill, get floured)

- If you do not do business so ca lanterna goes looking for trouble. (Who does not do his business, with the lantern goes looking for trouble)

- Sulu who makes sbagghja (Only those who do things, risk having problems)


- Chiù allisciu u gattu, chiù arrizza u pilu. (The better you treat a person, the more they turn against you)

- Spagnati du riccu mpovirutu and du poviru arriccutu. (Never trust the impoverished rich and the poor enriched)

- To flesh supra, the uossu bella seems. (The flesh above the beautiful bone seems)


- Who arrives late, malu stays. (Who arrives late, stays badly)

- Criscianu the years and criscianu the ailments (The years increase and the diseases increase)

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- Who loves you makes you cry, who loves you makes you laugh. (Who loves you makes you cry, who loves you makes you laugh)

- Megghju aviri a chi fari cu centu briganti, ca cu nu stortu gnuranti. (It is better to deal with a hundred brigands rather than one, but stupid)

- De matina water is medicine. (In the morning water is medicine)

- Whoever is standing in front of you or horns you. (Who is inside your house or horns or takes something away from you)

- Habitu 'un fa monacu and chirica' un fa prievite. (The dress does not make the monk and the cleric does not make a priest)

- Fimmana senz’ arduri is comu rosa without hiavru. (Woman without heat is like pink without smell)

- Chiru chi fazzu eu, facia u ciucciu meu. (What I do, make my ass)


- Diu closes the door and kidnaps the window. (God closes a door and opens a window)

- Chirica 'un fa monacu (The dress does not make the monk)

Calabrian sayings

- Ah chimmu crisp you in the house grass. (May the grass grow inside your house!)

- Who pocu tene, caru ‘u tene. (Those who have little pay close attention to what they have)

- Cu hoe mbivi to water, cu futti mbivi to gutti. (Those who work drink water, while those who steal drink wine)

- The agiallu intra a caggia does not always sing for love, but for ray. (The bird in a cage does not always sing out of love, but out of anger)


- Those who piecure if they do, 'u lupu will eat itself. (Who sheep is made, the wolf eats it)

- Water passed 'a millstone. (Past water does not grind mill)

- Cu pucu you live and cu nenti you die. (With little you live and with nothing you die)

- Chine holds books, holds lips. (Who owns (reads) books, can speak)

- Water, fuacu and bread 'un se neganu mancu a ri cani. (Water, fire and bread are not denied even to dogs)

- Chini chianta patati, pluck potatoes. (Who plants potatoes, collects potatoes)

- Cu friends and relatives no cattari and no vindiri nenti. (With friends and relatives do not buy or sell anything)

- Get a stinky inchie. (Dew does not fill the well)

- Chine has health has dinars. (Who is healthy, is rich)

- Agiallu va duve truva granu. (The bird goes where the wheat is found)

- Chine campa sperannu, affrittu more. (Who lives of hope, desperate dies)

- Dulure de mole, dulure de core. (Toothache is like heartache; strong and long lasting)


- Chine tene robba, has parianti. (Who owns, has relatives)

- In jumi cittau a ji a piscà. (Don't go fishing at the silent river)

- Canjanu i sonaturi, but 'to music is always' to itself. (The players change, but the music is always the same)

Calabrian proverbs

- Amara chira casa cu l'erva a ru scalune. (Sad the house with the grass on the step)

- Good married, without woman and canata. (Anyone who has neither mother-in-law nor sister-in-law contracts a good marriage)

- Amaru cu u porcu no 'mmazza, to their beams it does not attack satiety. (Bitter is someone who does not kill the pig because sausages do not hang from the beams)

- Needs, presumptuous. (Who needs, no scruples to ask)

- Amaru u picciulu who vacates ncio’randa (Amaro the small that goes into the big)

- Beautiful and ugly, to death 'ngliutta (Beautiful and ugly, death swallows them)

- Amaru a chini mora. (Amara is the fate of those who die)

- In Santu Martinu si iaprunu i throw and try lu vinu. (In San martino the barrels are opened and the wine is tasted)

- A zirra d’a sira stipala per ra matina. (The rage of the evening keep it for the morning)


- Amaru who has to give and who has to have. (Unhappy is who must give and who must have)

- A vurpe quannu 'a grape junge says it is bitter. (The fox, when he cannot take the grapes, says he is immature)

- Dassa stari lu dogs who sleep. (Don't tease the sleeping dog)

- In vogghia mu ndi you make curls and cannola, ca u santu chè de marmuru don't sweat. (You want to make curls and cannoli, the saint who is made of marble does not sweat)

- In a word, it is chilla ca 'un if it says. (The best word is the untold one)

- Having napa at ra capu. (Having a bee in the head)

- Amicu de 'u bon tiempu, if it changes cu ru vientu. (Friend of happy weather, change according to the wind)

- A strata longa rumpe 'u carru (The long road breaks the cart)

- A ru cavallu jestimatu light ru pilu. (The horse that receives curses shines the fur)

- Keep your mind first to whom you say and then to whom you say yourself. (First think about who is talking to you and then what he tells you)

ITALIAN SLANG (March 2021)


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