What’s the meaning of “Chi va con lo zoppo impara a zoppicare”?

In this short lesson, we will learn the meaning of the Italian saying Chi va con lo zoppo impara a zoppicare along with its pronunciation. If you have a tendency to follow others, this idiom is for you.

Let’s get started! Iniziamo!


Chi va con lo zoppo impara a zoppicare

Meaning of the proverb

Chi va con lo zoppo impara a zoppicare can be literally translated as “he who walks with the lame learns to limp”, and it’s used to mean that if you hang out with bad people, you will instinctively pick up their mannerisms and learn to act like them.

limping young man

Linguistically speaking, this idiom can be broken down into…

  • chi (who)
  • va (goes, from andare)
  • con (with)
  • lo zoppo (the lame one)
  • impara (learns, from imparare)
  • a zoppicare (to limp)

For example, if your best friend is a liar, you are more likely to become a liar. This is related to a less common Italian proverb with a similar meaning, la cattiva compagnia porta l’uomo in mala via.


Pronunciation of Chi va con lo zoppo impara a zoppicare in Italian

Now let’s hear how this proverb is pronounced.

Chi va con lo zoppo impara a zoppicare
He who walks with the lame learns to limp


Where does Chi va con lo zoppo impara a zoppicare come from?

This proverb is probably a quotation from Tullia d’Aragona, a Roman poet who was born in 1501. In her work Dell’infinità di amore, she wrote: Chi usa con lo zoppo, se gli appicca.

limping man with crutches

And that’s the end of our lesson on the Italian saying Chi va con lo zoppo impara a zoppicare!


What next?

See all the other Italian idioms!

Now that you’ve seen what the meaning of the proverb Chi va con lo zoppo impara a zoppicare 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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