Piedmontese proverbs: sayings and idioms

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


Piedmontese idioms

- Val pusè na bóna làpa, which na bóna sàpa. (It is more worth having a good language than a good hoe)

- A taula s’ven nen vec. (You don't get old at the table)


- Ghè mia na bèla scarpa, c'la become my na sciàvata. (There is no beautiful shoe that does not become a slipper)

- Avar l'è pej del crin, l'è mac bun dop mort. (The miser is like the pig, it is good only after death)

- J’arme dle dòne a sun la lenga j’unge and tears. (Women's weapons are tongue, nails and tears)


- Dentura spada, fortun-a s-ciassa. (Sparse teeth, thick luck)

- A l'é mej sté citu, which is a pleasure. (It is better to keep silent, than to say nonsense)

- Ël furmagg a disnè l'è or, a marenda argent, a la seira piumb. (The cheese is gold for lunch, silver for snack, lead for dinner)


- A l'è brùt a serve, but pì brùt fese serves. (Sad to serve, but sadder to be served)

- Doe fomne and n'òca a fan ‘n mercà. (Two women and a goose make a market)

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- Le busie a sùn cùm j sop, c’a s’cunosu da luntan. (Lies, like the lame, stand out from afar)

- El diau a l'è gram because it is veg. (The devil is bad because he's old)

- The murusa a l'é lait, the spusa l'lé bur, the fumna l'é furmagg dur. (The girlfriend is milk, the bride is butter, the wife is hard cheese)

- The omna sensa fumna a l'é ‘n caval sensa brila, and the fumna sensa l'om a l'é na barca sensa timun. (The man without a woman is a horse without bridle, and the woman without a man is a boat without a rudder)

- A fa fèse larg cun the stuff of j autri. (Convenient to make way with other people's things)

- From ‘n sac’ d carbun, peur nen sorti ’d flour. (From a sack of coal flour cannot come out)

- A-i va régola e mësura fin-a a bèive the pure age. (It takes rule and measure even in drinking pure water)


- Anyone who has taken care of them on a horse deserves something. (Who does not take care of his horse, deserves to go on foot)

- A l'è mei n’ amis che des parent. (A friend is better than ten relatives)

- Cun d ’stras and d’ tacùn a beautiful matùn arises. (With rags and with some patches, he pulls up a nice boy)

Piedmontese sayings

- Who in l'àà sees Turin and nen la Venaria l'à cunusú the sea and nen la fia. (Who saw Turin and not La Venaria knew the mother and not the daughter)

- As peur nen beivi and subiè. (You can't drink and whistle)

- Who pasa Po pasa Doira (Whoever crosses the Po can also cross the Dora. (That is, those who overcome a great difficulty, can overcome even a small one)


- Gnanca i can a bogio la coa par gnent. (Even dogs don't wag their tail at all)

- Firb cmè Gribùja che pri nen bagnase a s’ascundiva ant i Ariane. (Smart as Gribuglia who hid in a stream to avoid getting wet)

- Ël vin pì bun al’è cul ch’as beiv cun ij amis. (The best wine is the one you drink with friends)

- Ij fieuj a son like ij dij dla man: on a net from the istess it seems and from the same sea but a i na j’è nen a midem. (The children are like the fingers of the hand: they are born from the same father and the same mother, but there is not one like the other)

- At ris al nassa int l'aqua and ‘l mora int al vin. (Rice is born in water and dies in wine)

- Ij fieuj a son na cavagna 'd nuisances and en sestin ed piasì. (Children are a basket of annoyances and a basket of pleasures)

- A l'è mac le muntagne c’a s’ancuntru nen. (Only the mountains don't meet)

- Whoever is always ill with is the last to hear. (Who is always sick is the last to die)

- S ’at veuri vivi and sta san, from distant parents. (If you want to live healthy, stay away from relatives)

- Al mund l'è cùmè the ark from Noah, tonti besci and pooch òman. (The world is like Noah's ark, many beasts and few men)

- Ij vissi s'amparu without a teacher.(Vices are learned without a master)

- At the cost of them, they are cativ that they are good at. (It costs more to be bad than to be good)


- The pulenta a fa quatr mesté: a serv da mnestra, a serv da pan, a 'mpiniss la pansa and a scauda ‘l man. (Polenta does four servings: it serves as a soup, serves as bread, fills the belly and warms the hands)

- Who sent and tas, to enjoy all the love of the past. (Those who hear and keep silent enjoy the whole world in peace)

- As comensa a meuire quand as nass. (You start dying when you are born)

- Piemontèis fàuss and cortèis. (Fake and courteous Piedmontese)

- If you want to bastejsu, ij poor andrejvu tuti an carosa. (If the wishes were enough, the poor would all go in a carriage)

Piedmontese proverbs

- Three cuse duluruse ‘nta famija:‘ l furnel c’a fuma, ‘l cuert c’a pieuva, fumna c’a crija. (Three things are painful in a family: the chimney that makes smoke, the roof that lets the rain pass and the wife that screams)

- Lòn ch’às does for ij fieuj as fa nen for gniun ‘d ij autri. (What is done for children is not done for anyone else)

- Le bele fomne a l'an semper rason. (Beautiful women are always right)

- L tort a treuva never from alogg. (The wrong never finds accommodation)

- A l'é pu facil spusese mal, who ate well. (It is easier to marry badly than to eat well)

- The Hague is the paisan spessiàri. (Garlic is the peasant pharmacist)

- Two nùs ant un sac and two done ant cà a fan a nice fracass. (Two walnuts in a bag and two women in a house make a big racket)


- Love and shit a son doe canaje: one eats el cheur and l'àutra le muraje. (Love and shit are two rascals: one corrodes the heart, the other walls)

- Önca l'àcua sönta misciaa cùm la teara sönta, the fà paciòc. (Holy water mixed with mud-shaped holy earth also)

- Par paghè e mori j’è sempar temp. (There is always time to pay and die)

- Ai pulitich gh’intarèsa la sgent, cùmè ai pülas i cöögn. (Politicians care about people, like dogs fleas)

- I brigant at pious the bag is the life, the dona at je pija tute and doe. (Brigands take your bag or life, the woman takes them both)

- L'aso ‘d Cavor as lauda da sol. (Cavour's donkey praises himself)

- A s’sa duv’a a s’nas but a s’sa pa ’nduv a s’meuir. (We know where we are born but we don't know where we die)

- Every time on the pal, every fumna 'n om. (For every screw a pole, for every woman a man)

- A-i-is not more beautiful than 'na facia cuntenta. (Nothing is more beautiful than a happy face)

- Na ca sensa fomna a l'è na ca senssa lantern. (A house without a woman is an extinguished lantern)

- In Pifania the days of the storm. (In Epiphany, the days get longer with an ant's pace)

- A-i is gnun malan pes which na fomna grama. (There is no worse sickness than a bad wife)


- First in Mortara, for Fossan and for Marsija. (First in Mortara, then in Fossano and then in Marseille)

- The cativa lavera a treuva never bon-a péra. (The bad washerwoman never finds the good stone)

- L ’vin a l'e’ bon when the obstacle to l'e ’bela. (Wine is good when the hostess is beautiful)

Idioms and Proverbs (August 2020)


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