What’s the meaning of “Avere un diavolo per capello”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian saying Avere un diavolo per capello along with its pronunciation. If you are often angry, this idiom is for you.

Let’s get started! Iniziamo!

Avere un diavolo per capello

Meaning of the expression

Avere un diavolo per capello can be literally translated as “to have a devil for each hair”, which is the equivalent of the English expression to see red, to be furious. It is used when you want to describe someone who is very, very angry.

Linguistically speaking, this idiom can be broken down into…

  • avere (to have)
  • un diavolo (a devil)
  • per capello (“for hair”, meaning for each hair)
angry man driving a blue car

For example, you could say…

Stamattina il capo ha un diavolo per capello. Meglio stargli alla larga.
This morning the boss is furious. It is best to stay away from him.

Pronunciation of Avere un diavolo per capello in Italian

Now let’s hear how this expression is pronounced.

Avere un diavolo per capello.
To see red, to be very angry.
Literally: To have a devil for each hair.

If you need help with Italian pronunciation, check out the lesson on the Italian alphabet and pronunciation.

Where does Avere un diavolo per capello come from?

This idiom is probably a reference to The Divine Comedy by the Italian poet Dante Alighieri. In his masterpiece, Dante and Virgil grasp tufts of Lucifer’s hair as they cross the Inferno. Avere un diavolo per capello reverses the roles: now it’s little devils pulling our hair.

Tirare qualcuno per i capelli
To pull someone by the hair

drawing of a devil sitting on his throne

Imagine little annoying devils pulling at your hair. Wouldn’t you be furious? 😉

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian saying Avere un diavolo per capello!

What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the proverb Avere un diavolo per capello is in Italian, you might want to keep learning Italian online with these free Italian resources:

Title: Italian All-in-One For Dummies
Language: English / Italian
Publisher: For Dummies
Pages: 672

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